Shawn Mendes is making his feature film debut as… a singing crocodile? A new trailer for upcoming family flick Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile reveals the singer’s role as the titular character, who expresses himself with music.
The film also stars Javier Bardem, Constance Wu, Brett Gelman, Scoot McNairy, and Winslow Fegley. It is based on the popular children’s book series by Bernard Waber and directed by Will Gordon and Josh Speck.
Mendes worked with composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul to pen original songs for Lyle to sing in the film, which he called “an inspiring process” in an interview with People. Ari Afsar, Emily Gardner Xu Hall, Mark Sonnenblick, and Joriah Kwamé also contributed to the songwriting.
“The hardest part though is that when you are singing for a film instead of your own album, you really have to ace the nuances of the emotion behind every lyric and every note and match it to how the character will be portraying it on screen,” Mendes said. “That was a learning experience.”
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is the first time Mendes has been part of a feature film cast, but the musical aspect encouraged him to expand his career outside of writing and recording albums.
“What was really amazing was that Lyle as a character only sings, so I felt really comfortable playing his character,” Mendes said. “I was able to do what I do best, plus I relate to his story and his character so much it felt natural. When I was approached to help make the music for the adaptation of such a classic book, it was a no brainer and just such a fun departure from what I am used to.”
A synopsis for the film notes, “When the Primm family moves to New York City, their young son Josh struggles to adapt to his new school and new friends. All of that changes when he discovers Lyle – a singing crocodile who loves baths, caviar and great music-living in the attic of his new home. The two become fast friends, but when Lyle’s existence is threatened by evil neighbor Mr. Grumps, the Primm’s must band together with Lyle’s charismatic owner, Hector P. Valenti, to show the world that family can come from the most unexpected places and there’s nothing wrong with a big singing crocodile with an even bigger personality.”
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile is in theaters Oct. 7 via Sony Pictures.