I’ve always been utterly charmed by the films of Aardman Animation, and I’m always eager to see what they’ll do next. From the Wallace & Gromit films to the sly Chicken Run to even their CGI stuff like Flushed Away and Arthur Christmas, their movies feature a warm blend of comedy and heart that always make for a memorable experience. Their latest film, Early Man, seems to follow in that line, and earlier this year, I got to visit Aardman to see the development of the movie.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Early Man, the story follows Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) and his small tribe of simple but well-meaning cavemen. When their land is invaded by the citizens of the Bronze Age, Dug challenges their ruler to a game of the Bronze Age’s most cherished institution, soccer. If Dug’s inexperienced tribe wins, they get to keep their land, but if they lose, they lose everything. Based on what I saw, it’s far more Shaolin Soccer than The Croods.
During my visit to Aardman, I learned 25 cool things about the production. Read on to learn more about Early Man, which opens February 16, 2018. Click here for my interview with director Nick Park.
- We began our visit with reel showing the past 40 years of work from Aardman, which has shot all of their movies in Bristol, England.
- The way their production schedule works, they have about 30-40 units working at the same time. Each unit spends an entire day creating one second of animation. So at the end of the day, you ideally have 30-40 seconds of new footage of your 80-90 minute movie.
- This is Nick Park’s first film since the Oscar-winning The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
- This is Park’s most ambitious project to date due to the large amount of characters, and the more “epic” look.
- The film has been shooting since September 2016, and it opens in the U.K. in January.
- Dug, the protagonist, is very optimistic, naïve, and full of energy. His pet hog is named Hognob, and although Hognob doesn’t talk (Park does all of Hognob’s sounds), it’s not the same dynamic as Wallace & Gromit.
- Bobnar is the chief of Dug’s tribe and is voiced by Timothy Spall. He’s an affable leader, more like a dad than a chief. He always wants to play everything safe, which puts him at odds with the more daring Dug. He’s the oldest member of the tribe at the ripe old age of 32
- Park wanted the tribe members to have an “earthy” look, to appear that they’re made of clay.