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Everyone’s getting excited about Avengers: Infinity War, but there’ll be another chance to see Tom Hiddleston before he pulls on the Loki wig once more, and it’s all down to one Graham Norton.

Okay, so “see” isn’t quite the word, as he’ll just be providing the voice for Lord Noothe, the pompous city governor in Early Man, the latest feature-length film from Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman Animations.

We were surprised as anyone to hear his French accent in the trailer, and even more surprised that he’d been chosen to play a bald, overweight and small-handed villain. (Yep, that really is Tom at 00:35 exclaiming, “The Age of Stone is over! Long live The Age of Bronze.”)

So what gives? Why did lovely Tom come to mind when they were casting the role? Step forward director Nick Park, the man behind Wallace & Gromit, as well as other claymation comedies like Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep, and even Peter Gabriel‘s groundbreaking “Sledgehammer” music video.

He gave an interview to The Scotsman yesterday (January 16), in which he talked about the origins of his latest film, and specifically how he cast the lead characters Dug (Eddie Redmayne), Gooner (Maisie Williams), and the dastardly Lord Nooth (Tom).

And according to him, it was Tom’s memorable 2015 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, alongside Robert De Niro, that got him the job.

“I needed someone who could do accents,” Nick explained, “so when I saw Tom doing De Niro in front of Robert De Niro, I thought, ‘He’d be worth a look’. Tom is very clever, and he can do anyone.”

Well, we think that means Tom owes Graham a drink, or at least a bunch of flowers. And if you need a reminder of what Tom’s De Niro impression looks like, here’s the clip:

Early Man opens in theaters in the U.S. on February 16.

What do you think of Tom’s impressions?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.