EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem is set to star in Will Speck & Josh Gordon’s Lyle, Lyle Crocodile for Sony Pictures. Sources also tell Deadline that Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, the Oscar winning songwriting team behind the music of La La Land and upcoming Dear Evan Hansen movie, will write original songs for the film. Speck & Gordon will direct with the script will be adapted by Will Davies and is based on the best-selling children’s book by Bernard Waber.
First published in 1965, the venerable children’s tale revolves around the title reptile who lives in a house on East 88th Street in New York City. Lyle enjoys helping the Primm family with everyday chores, and playing with the neighborhood kids. He’s the happiest crocodile any home ever had…until one neighbor insists that Lyle belongs in a zoo. Mr. Grumps and his cat, Loretta, don’t like crocodiles, and everything Lyle does to win them over seems to go wrong. It will take all of Lyle’s charm—and courage—to reveal the hero, and friend, behind the big crocodile smile.
Speck & Gordon are producing alongside Hutch Parker. Dan Wilson is executive producing for Hutch Parker Entertainment and Kevin K. Vafi is executive producing for Speck & Gordon. Pasek & Paul are also executive producing. Brittany Morrissey is overseeing the project for the studio. The film will bow on July 22, 2022.
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For an actor known more for his adult roles like Biutiful and his Oscar-winning work in No Country For Old Men, the film marks his rare trek into the family-friendly genre but sources the Waber’s original story was very appealing to him from the moment he was offered the part. This is first dive into material meant for all ages playing the villain in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and is also set to play King Triton in Disney’s The Little Mermaid adaptation.
When it comes to those adult roles, Bardem’s upcoming slate is plenty busy including Legendary’s Dune, Fernando León de Aranoa’s The Good Boss (El Buen Patron) and Aaron Sorkin’s Being The Ricardos, where he plays Desi Arnaz, opposite Nicole Kidman’s Lucille Ball.
Pasek and Paul are Oscar, Grammy, Tony, Olivier, and Golden Globe Award-winning songwriters and producers, best known for their work on Dear Evan Hanse, La La Land, and The Greatest Showman. Upcoming films include Disney’s live-action Snow White, Universal Pictures’ adaptation of their musical Dear Evan Hasen, and an original live-action musical with Apple.
Bardem is repped by WME and attorneys Michael L. Schenkman and Jake Bloom. Pasek & Paul are represented by CAA and Kraft-Engel Management.
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