Movies are like hot dogs; they pass through a lot of mystery hands before you get to consume them. As ending credits get exponentially congested, so too does our ability to acknowledge many of the hidden geniuses who stuffed the most delicious morsels of entertainment.
And with this awkward and completely inappropriate sausage analogy, it's time for yet another installment in our series devoted to the special people secretly behind some of your favorite moments in cinema.
#6. John Bell Designed Our Childhood Vision Of 2015
The completely slap-shit design of Back To The Future II's 2015 became so iconic that mankind spent the last 30 years inexplicably using it as a cultural and technological benchmark for human progress. When the real October 21, 2015 hit, we celebrated with more reverence and reflection than we did on all the President's Days and 9/11 anniversaries combined. And yet, in all our joviality, nary a murmur was devoted to wondering who, exactly, we had to thank for such a glorious vision of meat-tenderizer helmets and sleek Texacos. Turns out that person is John Bell, an animator who was approached by ILM to sketch out a few ideas for a soon-to-be-written sequel taking place in the happenin' future. Those sketches?
John scribbled out pretty much every futuristic Hill Valley technology you craved for as a kid, all the way down to Griff's automated baseball bat and rhino boots (which were apparently based on Bell's actual footwear at the time).
What '90s kid didn't grow up wanting their very own go-go gadget hate crime bat? Remember the disappointment when you realized they didn't really exist? And now, 30 years later, we're still waiting for that groundbreaking extendo-bludgeon technology!
Oh, wait ... no, we're thinking of these:
That's right, you shits. Along with the entire aesthetic of Back To The Future's vision of 2015, Bell designed the Holy Fucking Grail of fictional toys -- and consequently, every child's first taste of profound disappointment for the real world. Thanks, John! Any other ways you'd like to dominate our childhood fantasies like some kind of one-man dreamland cartel?
Hold onto your butts, because along with the entire futuristic world of Back To The Future, it turns out that years after a brief career break, John came back to once again pull an entire world of wonder out of his skull like some kind of twisted magician. Dude personally designed everything in Jurassic Park, from the main gate and T-Rex paddock, to the fucking ID badges and embryo chambers, to that godforsaken Barbasol can (a brand Bell personally chose for the film). As he describes it, the production designer put him on a "long leash," and as a result, his illustrations often were chosen by Spielberg for the final film ... meaning that nearly everything you visually associate with Jurassic Park came directly from this guy. He is your god now.
#5. Ryan Meinerding And Lindy Hemming Are Why Superheroes Look Awesome
For better or worse, cinematic universes have an unavoidable way of standardizing their look and feel across a large array of storylines. Winter Soldier might be akin to a spy thriller, as opposed to a more universally appealing Avengers film, but both movies will inevitably feature helicarriers romped by an Aryan poster child strapped into an armorized American flag. But that isn't to say the costumes in Marvel films are somehow predictable or boring. In fact, despite the adaptation limitations, superhero costumes might be the most interesting part of the genre. And at the same time, it's nearly impossible to figure out who we should thank for stuff like this:
Besides Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's '60s mushroom stash, we mean.
There are at least a dozen people, ranging from concept artists to costume designers, all contributing to the look of the MCU ... but it's Ryan Meinerding, Marvel's Head of Visual Development, whose name seems to show up at every corner. In fact, all of those outfits you see above were modeled after his own designs.
Let that sink in for a moment: Meinerding personally designed every version of Captain America, including the old-timey suit in the first film. He also did the Mach 1 Iron Man suit and Odin's helmet, and if you enjoy Daredevil's new suit ... well, that's his, too. Along with being the show's costume designer, Meinerding is Marvel's go-to visual department supervisor, which is a fancy way of saying that he gets to be in charge of how the Avengers look, and to sketch out awesome shit like this:
They could film his drawings, call it Infinity War, and maybe ten percent of viewers would notice the difference.
Like a figurative Johnny Depp, Meinerding wears many crazy hats and won't stop moving. But this is only one side of the superhero coin -- the other being substantially more charred in texture ...
Warner Brothers Pictures
No interns' faces were mutilated while perfecting Two-Face's look ... that we know of.
Who do we thank for Catwoman's goggle ears or Bane's mercenary chic? That would be Lindy Hemming, costume designer for all three Nolan Batman films, and the one responsible for 90 percent of 2008's most cliched Halloween getups:
Warner Brothers Pictures
His girlfriend is 2016's.
Describing it as "Vivienne Westwood meets Johnny Rotten," Lindy based Heath Ledger's Joker off a combination of comic influence and punk rock icons. She also personally designed Bane's French revolutionary bomber jacket from scratch, and was responsible for everything Catwoman wore, down to her goddamn underwear. And that's not even mentioning every freaking Batsuit from rubbery start to finish.
Warner Brothers Pictures
For the lack of nipples alone, she deserves both an Oscar and a Nobel.
And now that she's also designing the costumes for the upcoming Wonder Woman film, Hemming is scooping up DC heroes like they were Pogs. Not to mention her budding monopoly on costuming unbridled sociopaths, as the Clown Prince isn't the only iconic murderer she's worked on...
Because total disregard for human life is no excuse for looking shabby.
#4. Heidi Moneymaker And Chris Brewster ARE Black Widow And Daredevil
For all their rage ogres and sarcastic human missiles, the most fear-inducing testament to how not-to-be-fucked-with the Avengers are can most easily be summed up in this single five-second moment:
Reminder: Her superpowers are shooting you or electrocuting you.
Black Widow has a disturbing knack for inflicting unimaginable anguish through a series of incomprehensible leg suplexes and shit-your-pants gadget weaponry. If she were a Mortal Kombat character, her Fatality would be to physically manifest through your TV and centrifugally remove your limbs with her pelvic muscles. Here's an entire YouTube compilation, in case you have no idea what we're talking about:
Like every other superhero, it's this stylized way of kicking ass that makes up a substantial chunk of who Black Widow is. And that's all due to the fighting abilities of Heidi Moneymaker -- a name and face you'd attribute to a Bond Girl, but with all the combat agility to put 007 in the dirt like a child's forsaken hamster.
No silly Hollywood strings required.
Fucking something. Here, have some more:
Few others can look this badass while getting chucked into a goddamned car.
Note Vin Diesel, the "hero," sitting on his ass the whole time.
If you haven't figured it out yet, Moneymaker was big into gymnastics. She's appeared in everything from Mr. And Mrs. Smith to Serenity to The Expendables to one of the Crank films. But all of that is dogshit compared to not only performing as, but helping to design the fighting techniques of everyone's favorite deadly redhead. Unless you count costumed reds, in which case we would have a clear tie:
If you aren't caught up with Daredevil, you're at least familiar with the bone-breaking fight scenes between a wheezy Matt Murdock and various mook hordes. The Devil of Hell's Kitchen manages to keep the upper hand though a combination of pain tolerance and whole-bodied force, like some kind of drunk ninja -- a physical presence we can attribute to stuntman Chris Brewster, who not only performs all of Daredevil's fights, but also choreographs them with the show's star. Here he is seen at his other job:
Oh right, it's probably worth mentioning that Chris doesn't just double for Daredevil, but Captain Goddamn America:
Chris Brewster / YouTube
If they had given him anything but a shitty wooden shield, it would've been unfair.
He's secretly both Captain America and Daredevil, you fucking guys. That's like being Jesus and Jesus's gritty blind kung-fu buddy. Plus he's done mocap stunts for the Iron Man suit, meaning that he's played as many successful superheroes as Halle Berry, Chris Evans, and Ryan "Third Time's A Charm" Reynolds combined.