PRLog - Jan. 24, 2014 - LOS ANGELES -- What does "Bad Grandpa's" recently-announced Academy Award nomination for Makeup & Hair Styling have in common with musicians Daft Punk, the Spongebob Squarepants films, Zombieland, Chucky the Killer Doll, and James Franco's special effects handiwork in "127 HOURS?"
Johnny Knoxville before and after Alterian, Inc. works their makeup magic.
The answer is simple: All of the above enter our world through the doors of special effects wizard Tony Gardner's studio, Alterian, Inc.
"What I enjoy most about my job at Alterian is that the workload is always challenging and always changing, and each project we work on has it's own different and unique set of challenges to conquer, " said Tony Gardner. "And with the talented group of artists here at Alterian, all with their own unique skills and talents to add to the mix, solving the challenges of each job is usually half the fun."
Johnny Knoxville's 86-year-old Irving Zisman character has existed off and on in various Jackass projects over the past twelve years, and every incarnation to date has come forth from the talented artists at Alterian. (See Irving introduced in 2006: http://alterianinc.com/
"Irving wasn't the only elderly character we made for "Bad Grandpa," Gardner shared. "There was also Catherine Keener in old age makeup as Irving's wife 'Ellie,' and Spike Jonze as the elderly 'Gloria,' both who were edited out as filming progressed and the original storyline took a few twists."
"The prosthetics for all of our elderly characters were made out of translucent silicone, so that their prosthetic skin would look and move more like real skin. The goal was to make all of the prosthetics as thin as possible so that the subtlty of expression would all read through the prosthetic makeup." Gardner added, "At the same time, with Irving, we were also trying to alter his facial proportions so that he wouldn't be recognizable as the Irving seen in 'Jackass Number Two."
Watching Irving blend into a crowd and be accepted as a real senior citizen, even with all the crazy stuff he was doing that drew attention to him, has always been the highlight of the "Jackass" experience for Gardner. "It's one thing to create a makeup effects character for a film that can take advantage of specific lighting or angles or editing, but to put a prosthetic character out into the real world, in regular light, nose to nose with the 'audience,' with no opportunity for re-takes..AND then have it be accepted as a real old man ...that's definitely an adrenaline rush for all of us involved!"
Eleven prosthetics were glued down on Johnny Knoxville for each day of filming, all of which are so thin and fragile that they are destroyed upon removal. So a sixty day shoot meant an army of artists were producing some 660+ prosthetic pieces for "Bad Grandpa," in addition to the full body prosthetics for the scenes where the character is almost naked.
The first three hours of each shooting day were spent with Knoxville in the makeup chair being glued into his character's skin, painted up, and then glued into his lace hairpieces. Three makeup artists worked getting "Irving" together each morning, led by Alterian's lead artist on the Irving character, Steve Prouty.
Given that the makeup crew had to set up in hotels, operate undercover, and then travel out to shoot with an actor that they would be able to touch up sometimes only every few hours, it's amazing this film was completed let alone as successful as it has been.
It's a testament to the talented artists and the equally talented Johnny Knoxville that this film succeeds so well, and you actually end up caring for this cranky old man. Let's see if the Academy cares just as much as audiences do on March 2, 2014!