Gina Yashere has always been one of my favorite comedians,’ says director Nick Park

The lovable British comedian can be heard as the voice of Gravelle, a hypochondriac tribe member who likes to share details of her ailments on Aardman Studio’s latest offering “Early Man.” A prehistoric comedy about courageous caveman battling a world that’s moved on to bronze, it tells the story of a Stone Age tribe whose peaceful existence is suddenly interrupted by the arrival of the more sophisticated Bronze Age who seize their land. In order to reclaim the land and avoid being sent to work in the mines, the cavemen challenge the Bronze Age to winner-takes-all football match to settle the land dispute.

Gina Yashere as Gravelle
Pictured director Nick Park

With a good sense of humor, coupled with  traditional values and warm-hearted storytelling “Early Man” has some very funny moments. It’s an all-British cast voicing the characters and for Oscar-winning director Nick Park, it was crucial to have a diverse cast.

Early Man cast – Photo courtesy of Aardman

“I wanted to show the diversity of Britain,” he explains on casting Gina Yashere, a stand up comedian and TV star who has appeared on iconic shows such as “Mock The Week” and hosted “Live At The Apollo.” “When you talk about the Bronze Age, there’d have been lots of people here of different ethnicity and I didn’t want to end up with an all-white team. Football today is definitely multi-racial and Gina has always been one of my favorite comedians who evolved from British television. She was really up for doing it and I love the quality of her voice and what she brought.”

Gina Yashere voices a puppet named Gravelle

The film marks Park’s first directing work since the “Wallace & Gromit” titles. Before that, he jointly directed two feature-length films: “Chicken Run” with Peter Lord and “Curse of the Were-Rabbit” with Steve Box.

Gina Yashere
Director, Nick Park briefing crew on set

Shot in Aardman’s own distinctive style, the film, which is set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and woolly mammoths roamed the earth has a prehistoric twist and features a voice cast that also includes Eddie Redmayne, Maisie Williams, Tom Hiddleston and Richard Ayoade.

Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She can be reached at Photos courtesy of Aardman and Gina Yashere

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