Idea has been kick­ing around

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Film Looklocal -

EARLY Man di­rec­tor Nick Park’s lat­est clay an­i­ma­tion film may have been his big­gest chal­lenge to date, but he wouldn’t change a thing.

The four-time Os­car win­ner and Wal­lace and Gromit co-cre­ator’s new­est bigscreen film looks at soc­cer in pre­his­toric times.

When coura­geous cave­man Dug’s (Ed­die Red­mayne) peace­ful val­ley is in­vaded by pompous Lord Nooth (Tom Hid­dle­ston) and his army, he chal­lenges him to an almighty soc­cer match in a bid to win back his home.

Speak­ing to Com­mu­nity News from Eng­land, Park said this story lent it­self to a grander scale than he had dealt with be­fore.

“I kept kick­ing my­self: ‘why soc­cer?’ be­cause you al­ways have to have 22 guys on the pitch,” he said.

“In a sense it is not eas­ier; all the prin­ci­pal an­i­ma­tion is the same and done in the same tech­nique, but the fig­ures aren’t al­ways clay.

“But this one is so big, you couldn’t reach into the set far enough to make ad­just­ments; we went dig­i­tal for a lot of the back­grounds and crowds at the sta­di­ums.

“At times I thought ‘gosh what have I done?’.”

Park said the idea for the film had been “kick­ing around for about three years” be­fore be­ing put on the back­burner for a while.

“I was al­ways at­tached to the idea of cave­men and women, but it wasn’t meant to be so epic,” he said.

“I wanted to look for some­thing that wasn’t just an­other cave­man story.

“It started with doo­dles and then I thought about sport and how tribal it is.”

He said it was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It took about 18 months to film and we had 35-40 an­i­ma­tors and a crew of 200 peo­ple,” he said.

“We filmed in a stu­dio in Bris­tol, which is the size of a foot­ball pitch, and we had about 35-40 sets go­ing at the same time, so ev­ery­thing was par­al­lel.

“We would film about two to three se­conds (of us­able footage) a day and about a minute a week and that is steam­ing ahead.

“It was great to do it; it was an amaz­ing ad­ven­ture.

“I only signed off on the film a week and a half ago, so I feel like I just stepped out of the ship en­gine cov­ered in grease.”

Voice ac­tors Ed­die Red­mayne and Maisie Williams with Early Man di­rec­tor Nick Park.

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