How Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile Captures Shawn Mendes’ Personality In The Form Of A Singing Crocodile

Chart-topping Canadian pop star and heartthrob Shawn Mendes can now add movie star to his resume for the first time in his life thanks to the upcoming movie, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. Though, it’s not his face we’ll see on the big screen, it’s a 3D CGI animated croc that can sing as sweetly as him. Ahead of the family-friendly musical’s release, we’ve learned more about how Mendes’ personality actually played into his first leading character. 

CinemaBlend recently visited Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, California to get a first look at Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and alongside a small group of other journalists learned just how raging with shoe-tapping song and dance numbers the movie is. The movie is set to be a full-fledged musical with original songs from La La Land and The Greatest Showman composers Pasek and Paul, many of which Shawn Mendes brings his talents to. One of the movie’s directors, Will Speck, shared how Lyle was brought to life with these words: 

We recorded him in a booth and we did it throughout the whole process and we actually filmed Shawn's singing so that the animators have a sense of the personality, because Lyle is very much Shawn's kind of personality, which is sort of like this gentle genius. So it's a little bit of that. And then, the model itself of Lyle has transformed because we learned a lot about the anatomy of a crocodile, which is mostly cartilage and a bill. So for us to have dexterity… but we didn't want it to be so flappy that it felt really fake. So we've been trying to ride that line, but Shawn's definitely a guide for the animators.

As Speck (who shares directing duties with longtime filmmaking partner Josh Gordon) explained how Shawn Mendes’ visual actions were recorded in the vocal booth and then handed off to the animators who were inspired by his likeness to create a 3D animated version of the children’s book character that first in between the pages of Bernard Waber’s stories in the ‘60s. Speck characterized both Mendes and Lyle as gentle geniuses. 

Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile follows the titular crocodile who has a secret gift for song, as discovered by Javier Bardem’s Hector P. Valenti, who then forms a show around him and Lyle. However, once Lyle journeys to the stage in front of a live audience, he freezes up and there-in ruins Hector’s career. The movie will then pick up in Lyle’s teendom where he meets a human boy named Josh (played by Winslow Fegley) and they become quick friends. However, when a neighbor disapproves of a crocodile living nearby, Lyle, Josh and even Hector must band together. 

Following the first Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile trailer introducing Shawn Mendes’ Lyle a few months back, there’s been more footage of the movie released in the above brand new trailer. As it teases, Lyle will shock and impress all who meet him with his singing abilities, especially through the infectious song “Top Of The World.” During our set visit, we saw a number of numbers, and were told there are a total of eight throughout the movie. 

We’ll be able to see and hear Shawn Mendes’ Lyle when one of many big fall 2022 movies hits theaters on October 7. We’ll keep you up to date about what we know about Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile here on CinemaBlend ahead of its release. 

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.