Javier Bardem Really Learned How To Be A Magician For Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, Because Of Course He Did

Many kids are about to get introduced to No Country For Old Men Oscar-winner Javier Bardem with the release of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. After a career full of serious, mature roles such as in Skyfall and Dune, the Spanish actor plays a goofy showman in the family-friendly musical. But, don’t worry, Bardem took his commitment to his craft seriously for Lyle too, especially when it comes to portraying a song-and-dance man with skills in magic. 

When CinemaBlend spoke to the directors behind Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, Josh Gordon and Will Speck, the filmmakers shared with us Bardem’s very specific homework for the movie. In Gordon’s words: 

He had to learn magic. We had a magic expert on set who would hang around and teach him how to do tricks. And then the guy was so entertaining that we kept him around to entertain us and then Javier started learning his tricks and would come around and show them.

In the recent fall movie release, Bardem plays Hector P. Valenci, an eccentric performer who finds Lyle in an exotic pet shop singing his heart out and decides to make him the center of his latest show. However, when things don’t go as planned, Lyle and Hector go separate ways. Will Speck also revealed this aspect of working with Bardem and magic on set: 

That flicking of the card that spins around his body is done practically in camera. That's an actual trick. He did all of his own magic.

Pretty impressive, am I right? We’d honestly expect nothing less from a Javier Bardem movie following his body of work thus far. The actor’s co-star, Winslow Fegley, who shares many scenes with the actor also talked to us about his experience with the actor on set, saying this: 

It was really funny seeing Javier being able to just do all these tricks and there were definitely a lot of bloopers and mess ups – I think that they are going to release some blooper reel at some point. But it was really great getting to see him do all that… He was actually really amazing. He did some stuff that would blow your mind and he was just like, cause he was just like when he wasn't working, he was just going around doing magic tricks for people. It was a lot of fun.

Winslow Fegley plays Josh Primm, a middle schooler that is new to the Big Apple and finds Lyle in his attic after Hector goes off on another business venture. Josh and Lyle become quick friends, especially as the boy has trouble adjusting to the city and learns of the croc’s unique talents for song. Shawn Mendes voices the role of Lyle, a friendly scaly guy who expresses himself entirely through song. 

Alongside the magic tricks, Javier Bardem also sings and dances in Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile like a champ. The movie is an original music composed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who were also behind La La Land and The Greatest Showman. Bardem is also signed up for another movie musical in the live-action The Little Mermaid movie, where he’ll play King Triton. 

The filmmakers of Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile were inspired to adapt Bernard Waber’s children’s book because of their connection to the theme of family within the story. Check out what critics are saying about the new release ahead of seeing the movie, now playing in theaters. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.