Early Man Director Nick Park On His Caveman Sports Comedy

Animation genius Nick Park tackles the origin of soccer and the Bronze Age in his eccentric new Early Man.

Early Man is the latest stop-motion movie from Aardman Animations, the British company that has given us such delights over the years as Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run and more. This time out, Aardman creative genius Nick Park directs solo for the first time as he pulls together the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the origins of soccer (football in the U.K.) into a quirky and charming yarn that is equal parts slapstick, sports movie and history (albeit a fanciful version of it).

Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) voices Dug, a caveman whose Stone Age tribe is driven out of their bucolic valley by the more advance Bronze Age legions of Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston), who wants to conquer the tribe’s land and strip-mine it. But Dug gets a chance to win the land back by challenging a local team to a soccer match — knowing that his own ancestors invented the game but also that his tribe is too primitive to understand it now.

“I didn’t really want to be making a film for soccer fans or any kind of sports fans,” says Park in our video interview below. “It was primarily a caveman comedy. It really just had football as an interesting kind of element that made it different.”

Watch the rest of the interview below. Early Man is out in theaters this Friday (February 16).