Behind the scenes of Early Man

As Early Man prepares to 'kick off' in cinemas on 26th January, ODEON goes behind the scenes on Aardman Animations’ set to find out how this stop-motion comedy of historic proportions came together. We also introduce you to the film’s heroic – and not so heroic – characters.


A sneak peek from the Early Man set…

Aardman Animations has taken us from the suburbs of Wigan to Mossy Bottom Farm by way of the high seas in its stop-motion movies. Now, the four-times Oscar-winning studio is venturing back to the age of cavemen. Directed by Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park, Early Man is a prehistoric comedy with a football twist that's sure to make the whole family have fun!

 The facts 

  • The models are painstakingly constructed by hand from clay, plasticine, foam latex and silicone over a flexible metal skeleton (known as an armature).

 

  • Park and his crew recorded themselves acting out the film (in Park’s case this involved jumping around in a pig outfit,  while Eddie Redmayne had to play football...kind of!) as a guide for the animators to follow while moving the models.

 

  • While CGI is used to enhance scenes, the sets are real and impressively detailed. The football arena model stands almost three metres tall, with imposing towers modelled on the original Wembley Stadium.

 

  • To get the effect of smoke flickering on the cave’s wall, a painted jam jar was rotated on top of a lightbulb while filming. It’s a world away from the high-tech methods employed by most animation studios, and all the more charming for it!

 


Who’s who in Early Man – your bootiful guide!

Name: Dug

Team: Stone

Voiced by: Eddie Redmayne

You’ll know Eddie from: London-born Eddie won a Best Actor Oscar for his astonishing turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything. He also wows in The Danish Girl and Les Misérables.

Dug in brief: A happy-go-lucky caveman with big dreams and an even bigger heart. When Lord Nooth threatens to destroy his tribe’s valley home, it’s Dug who steps up to stop him.

Name: Lord Nooth

Team: Bronze (very definitely Bronze)

Voiced by: Tom Hiddleston

You’ll know Tom from: He’s Loki in the Marvel movies. You know, the cheeky God of Mischief who’s always winding up his half-brother Thor.

Lord Nooth in brief: Lord Nooth governs the local Bronze city. He loves money, power and – most of all – bronze. He reckons poor Dug and his tribe are idiots, but he’s reckoned wrong (well, kinda).


Name: Goona

Team: Goona is very much her own gal!

Voiced by: Maisie Williams

You’ll know Maisie from: Maisie Williams is Arya Stark in Game Of Thrones. We wouldn’t mess with her!

Goona in brief: An independent young woman, millennia ahead of her time. Goona doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to getting her point across – and you’ll love her for it.  

Name: Hognob

Team: Stone

Voiced by: Nick Park

You’ll know Nick from: Nick's the director of this brilliant film and the creator of Wallace & Gromit. Oh yes, and a four-time Oscar winner to boot. Cracking!

Hognob in brief: Dug’s loyal pet hog – and best friend. He’s a bit like a dog but with tusks. He doesn’t talk but has perfected the eyeroll for whenever Dug messes up (which is often).


About the film

Set at the dawn of time, ‘Early Man’ follows young caveman Dug on an epic quest to save his tribe from a mighty enemy and his Bronze Age city. 

Dug’s tribe are still in the Stone Age, and they’re no match for people armed with bronze. So he sets out for the mysterious city with his sidekick Hognob to try and save them all, and finds himself caught up in an incredible journey unlike anything he’s known. 

What the director says...

During our time on the Early Man set, ODEON was lucky enough to chat with director Nick Park. As for where the spark for Early Man came from, he said

”I was just playing around with ideas about what if cavemen had a go at sport. I was thinking maybe it would be rounders or baseball, because of their clubs, but somehow it ended up as football...It started to expand from there: how would a bunch of lunkhead Neanderthals deal with something more disciplined where they had to put down their clubs and use their feet?”

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