Katy Perry appears as multiple characters in her music video for "Birthday."
- May 5, 2014
-- In the new video for the song “Birthday,”
Katy Perry achieves something amazing, disguising herself as five unique characters and then crashing four birthday parties and one bar mitzvah.
Playing the “World’s Worst Birthday Entertainers,"
a list of which includes a scantily clad elderly Las Vegas stripper, a pudgy male Jewish MC, an alcoholic clown, a mouse-eating animal trainer, and an artistically challenged face-painting princess—Perry successfully wreaks havoc on everyone’s lives, and gets away completely unrecognized.
Filmed over the course of three days, the video succeeds thanks to the makeup effects artistry of Tony Gardner, whose other milestones include John Travolta's transformation into a buxom housewife for the film "Hairspray,"
and unleashing Johnny Knoxville as the elderly Irving Zisman on the unsuspecting public for the "Jackass" films, including last year's Oscar-nominated "Bad Grandpa."
Gardner credits Perry for the makeup's success: "Working with someone like Katy, who's as confident as she is creative, is extremely liberating,"
said Gardner. "She was so willing to lose themselves into the makeups, and had no vanity. This made it possible for me to really push the character's design and layer a lot of detail into each of the character's appearance. Add her fearless performances to that, and all of those characters succeed in coming to life as real people in the real world."
"It takes guts to walk out cold into the world as Goldie, a ninety year old showgirl with full body prosthetics, or as Yosef, the pudgy male MC character with chest hair and a mustache, and then perform in character in front of a room full of strangers and try to elicit a response. She makes it look easier than it is."
Gardner and his team of artists at Alterian (www.alterianinc.com
) had less than two weeks to create the prosthetics required for the four makeup effects characters. "Having very little prep time seems to be the name of the game these days," says Gardner. But the challenge presented by those limitations is exactly what he finds most energizing.
Gardner is no stranger to performers and projects with high demands. He helped Daft Punk realize their robotic selves and then bringing those chromed characters to life, with functional LED read-outs and all. And Director Danny Boyle came to Gardner to realize sequences from the film “127 Hours” that involved James Franco having to sever his arm on camera in real time with complete medical accuracy.
“What others might cite as ‘problems’
I look at as ‘challenges,’"
says Gardner. “And those challenges quite often inspire you to approach things from a different and new perspective, which often leads to solutions you would have never even anticipated otherwise.”
“Time was definitely our major challenge with the ‘Birthday’
music video characters, though, on the days filming as well as during the pre-production design and manufacturing.”
All in all, Katie spent over 15 hours of the video's three day shoot in the makeup chair getting in and out of the makeups. Five of those hours being the ones required for Goldie's full body prosthetics. And a children’s birthday party has its own schedule to keep, guest performer or not, so we all had to work fast."
"The entire "Birthday" video was a great experience. I'd love to see Goldie make a come-back some day ...or go on tour with Katy," said Gardner, adding, "she was definitely a charmer."