Steve Johnson loves his job because, as he puts it, “All I do is make
It’s actually a bit more complicated than that.
Johnson owns Edge FX, a Burbank-based special-effects company that
specializes in unusual makeup, prosthetics and robotic animatronics
for movies, television, advertising and theme parks, including
Disney’s Epcot Center.
If filming calls for a grotesque face, mangled limbs or any type
of over-the-edge makeup, Edge FX can do the job. Making an actor look
good is not what it’s about at Johnson’s 20,000-square-foot,
“It’s always been about makeup to make people look worse,” he
In the upcoming “Spider-Man II” movie, actor Alfred Molina -- who
portrays the evil Dr. Octopus -- wears robotic tentacles created by
Johnson’s team of animatronics experts. In the upcoming release of
“Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat,” Mike Myers is transformed into the
storybook feline through the artistry of Johnson’s special-effects
While growing up in Texas in the 1960s and ‘70s, Johnson was
fascinated with horror films.
“I tried to recreate the things I saw in the movies,” he said. “I
would get wigs, cut the hair off them and glue the hair on my
friends’ faces to create werewolves.”
In the early 1980s, Johnson came to Los Angeles, and worked on
special effects for the movie “American Werewolf in London.” He
eventually joined the creature department of Boss Film Corp. in 1984,
and helped create special effects for a number of movies, including
By the time he was 26, it became to clear that Johnson could “do
In 1986, he created Edge FX. Since then, Johnson has won two Emmys
for special effects on a pair of Stephen King mini-series: “The
Stand” in 1994 and “The Shining” in 1997.
“It’s fun to come to work in the morning,” he said. “I have a very
good team of people around me.”