Tom Hiddleston and Maisie Willaims are two of Britain’s most prolific actors, and they finally share the screen – or, rather, the audioscape – in Early Man. Hiddleston has been present on the scene for two decades, rising to prominence as Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before a string of successful, high-profile roles. Williams, meanwhile, has grown from child star to headliner in Game of Thrones as Stark assassin Arya. The duo meet in Aardman’s new stop-motion animation Early Man, as key hero Goona and vindictive Lord Nooth respectively.
Screen Rant recently sat down with Hiddleston and Williams in London to discuss their roles, as well as their takes on upcoming projects.
Screen Rant: So, I really wanted to talk about accents because that really jumps out because both of you are doing French accents in this…
Maisie Williams: [Sighs]
SR: It’s approaching that isn’t it?
SR: What accent were you going for?
SR: Norweigian. OK, so it’s European. So how did that come about, how did that develop?
MW: I watched a girl on YouTube who had a very lovely voice that I thought “I’m taking that, thanks.”
Tom Hiddleston: Mine was sort of a hybrid of lots of things. Nick Park, the director, wanted the Bronze Age – which is separate from the Early Man tribe – to have this international feel. And so you hear lots of different… you hear Italian accents, German accents. So Lord Nooth was French but the most important thing about him was the pomposity and self-importance. So it was actually kind of tricky to land on that because I always think French accents are always kind of laid back and cool and sophisticated so to find the pomposity inside the French was a cocktail of vocal work.
SR: Nick Park always acts out the character movements to do the animation. Did you see some of the stuff he did before to help you get into the characters.
MW: Yeah, a little. I can’t remember… I didn’t see Goona stuff, though. I saw, I think it was some Dug stuff, and Nick wearing a big tribe vest and the movements and it was wonderful. I realized after that, when we were in the booth recording that actually his brain’s taking over, trying to think, “How would I animate that read and how would it fit into the stuff that I’ve already recorded?” And you can see it all just going over and over and over, so there are moments where you’ve just done this huge speech and he’s just thinking and thinking and it’s silent and I was like, “What have I done?” [Then Nick was like] “No, I think that’s good – I think we have it.” And you’re like, “OK…” It’s just a strange way of working, it’s different.
TH: It’s amazing insight though, isn’t it?
MW: Yeah, he’s the star of his films.
TH: Yeah, he would say to me, [puts on Nick Park voice] “No, I think it should sound more…” It’s funny, I’m doing an impression of him now. “It should sound more pompous“, and he would do that thing of sticking his chest out to make Lord Nooth’s belly and put his hands quite high on his ribs as opposed to here [low] – so trying to look important without looking important in a way, so I’d go, “OK I understand.“
SR: And Maise, obviously you’re in New Mutants, which has just been pushed back 10 months. There’s rumors around that it’s going to be made scarier, so I wonder when you were…
MW: Wow, it’s funny that you know so much about it…
SR: Well, it’s been all over. I was about to ask, when did you become aware of the changes and will it involve any reshoots or anything for you?
MW: Well, I think everything you’ve just rattled off is just rumors. But we’re releasing early next year and I’m properly excited. I’ve seen little parts of it and I’ve done a load of ADR for it and it’s really exciting watching it all back. It feels a long while since we’ve done it, and I always enjoy going seeing little bits of it before it’s released, so I’m looking forward to it coming out.
Related: Eddie Redmayne Interview: Early Man
SR: I’m very excited to see it. It’s a shame it’s being delayed. And, Tom, I want to ask – you were obviously in Kong: Skull Island last year, and the ending of that, the post-credits scene, set up your connection with the organization that’s going to go through that franchise. But the next movie with Kong in [Godzilla vs. Kong] is set in the modern day so your character will be so much older. Who would you like to play you in the modern day, you 40 years on, if you had to pick someone?
TH: Gosh, I don’t even know… is that true, that there’s going to be…?
I think Godzilla Kong’s going to be there.
MW: Where are you getting all this stuff?
TH: I know Godzilla 2 is a thing.
SR: Oh, they’re definitely doing a Kong v Godzilla thing. That’s directed by… I can’t remember the guy’s name now [Adam Wingard], but it’s coming out 2020.
TH: Goodness, who do you think?
MW: What, you in 40 years?
TH: I’ll let you be the casting director. [To SR] Who do you think?
SR: I don’t know. I keep thinking Christopher Plummer because he’s just a de facto cast as a surprise role thing at the moment.
TH: Hmm. That would be amazing. Erm…
MW: Why don’t you just do it and do a whole…
TH: A whole prosthetic. Five hours in makeup. [deep voice] “I’m an old man now.“
SR: You’ve got the voice.
TH: “I’ve lived.”
MW: Yes, I love it.
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