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The Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile team celebrated the world premiere of the children’s novel-turned-film in New York City on Sunday.
Stars Constance Wu, Shawn Mendes, Ego Nwodim, Scoot McNairy and newcomers Winslow Fegley and Lyric Hurd, as well as the film’s directors and producers, took to the black and white checkered carpet to talk all about their live-action project.
“It’s such a wonderful story,” producer Hutch Parker told The Hollywood Reporter. “I mean, it’s a beloved book, but it’s really the kind of spirit of Lyle that makes it so special. And it just felt like it’s the right time to be telling that kind of a story. We like to say that everybody needs a little Lyle in their life, and I think it’s really true.”
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile follows Mr. and Mrs. Primm, played by McNairy and Wu, respectively, who recently moved to New York, as their young son, Josh (Fegley), struggles to adapt to his new environment and make friends. When he meets Lyle, a singing crocodile who loves caviar and baths, that all changes — until the Primms’ evil neighbor, Mr. Grumps (Brett Gelman), threatens Lyle’s existence.
Parker believes directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon were a big draw for the cast, and once they all got together, everyone hit it off pretty seamlessly.
“Constance was great,” Parker said. “Javier [Bardem, who also stars in the movie,] is amazing. He’s kind of a legend. So that was exciting and remarkable to watch him tackle. He’s never sung or danced in a film like this. I mean, this was a big undertaking, and it’s pretty extraordinary to watch him do his thing.”
Mendes voices the crocodile, marking one of the first major film roles of his career. The pop star also wrote a few original songs for Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile.
“Shawn was remarkable because this is very different for him,” Parker explained. “It’s a very different process. You spent a lot of time getting him to understand the way in which the songs were working dramatically, but he was a natural. He was excellent.”
McNairy was inspired to work alongside such talented actors, especially Bardem.
“Javier is so talented and so fun to be around, incredibly nice,” he said. “But just all the stuff that he adds to it, it’s really, really fascinating to watch someone work that you admire so much.” McNairy added it was important for him to be able to work on a project his kids would be able to watch, so they can see what their father does, instead of just hearing about it. He hopes that children who watch Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile leave the theater feeling confident and knowing that they can overcome their fears.
As for Wu, she feels the movie, as well as her upcoming memoir Making a Scene, are portrayals of her authentic self.
“I feel really relieved to have what I feel is like a really authentic portrayal of myself out there in the public,” she told THR of her two recent releases. “I feel really glad to have a musical out because that is a portrayal of my authentic self because I am a musical theater nerd. I always have been.”
When it comes to Making a Scene, Wu hopes that it will help readers work on being more empathetic and curious about people instead of jumping to their own conclusions.
“I say something in the introduction, where I say, ‘Instead of thinking of somebody as a girl, making a scene, think about the scenes that made the girl,’ and what I mean by that is, it’s important to stop our judgment and instead engage our empathy and curiosity for what are the circumstances that might have led somebody to their expression at that particular moment.”
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile hits theaters on Oct. 7.
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