Before saying you would never want a 300-pound reptile living in your New York City apartment (and rent free, no less!) ask yourself this: what if he sang Stevie Wonder and wore a little wool scarf?
That’s essentially the premise of Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, a new film adaptation of the beloved children’s book by Bernard Waber. When the Primm family moves into a new home, Mrs. Primm (Constance Wu) quickly discovers—after overhearing a soulful “Sir Duke” cover coming from their shower—her brownstone comes with a special tenant. Lyle the Crocodile, a singing, talking crocodile owned by the eccentric Hector P. Valenti (Javier Bardem) calls the Primm’s new house his home.
“Ok, crocodiles can bite through bone and have a taste for human flesh, but he’s not like that!” Josh Primm (Winston Fegley) begs his mother to understand when she tries to lay down the law on Lyle. “He wears a scarf, and he can sing!”
Josh is right: Lyle can sing, thanks to the syrupy-sweet vocal performance of Shawn Mendes. Mendes’ giddy tone cements Lyle as more charm than chompers, and makes his sweet friendship with Josh more believable. After all, would an only child really share their space with a crocodile unless he had something special to offer the family?
The trailer also seems to preview an original Lyle song, where he sings about the “shadow of the city” and being “at the top of the world tonight/ where no one ever has to hide.” Turns out not all crocodiles are lowlanders; up above the city lights is the only place Lyle can be himself!
Will Speck and Josh Gordon, the duo behind Blades of Glory and The Switch, directed the film, with Will Davies lending his pen to the script. Davies has previous writing credits on Puss in Boots, How To Train Your Dragon, and Flushed Away.
Although Lyle, Lyle Crocodile doesn’t have an official release date as of yet, the trailer promises a premiere will come “in a while, crocodile.”