It’s pretty standard for an actor to find ways to connect to a character throughout the preparation process. For singer Shawn Mendes, an acting newbie who stars in the forthcoming project Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, he and the massive reptile he voices share two key things in common: Stage fright and anxiety.
“I think Shawn is this character at his core,” producer Kevin Vafi says of Mendes. “It’s funny, we learned more of it the more we talked to him. He has stage fright and his own anxieties just like the character.”
Mendes recently went into the deep ways he connects with the CGI crocodile, who exclusively expresses himself through song.
“He plays this physical giant. He’s super shy and he’s super kind of introverted and the stage fright. These are all things that I can constantly feel,” Mendes says in a new interview with EXTRA. “And I just love how vulnerable he is and I feel like I am kinda just trying to embody that more at this place in my life.”
“I just love how honest of a creature that he is even in his eyes—he is just so honest in what he is doing,” Mendes continues. “I love the juxtaposition between him being this giant, terrifying creature and being so sensitive and so scared... That’s a beautiful way to express what it feels like.”
Mendes has been relatively open about his struggles with performance anxiety. Back in July, Mendes notably canceled his world tour, citing the need to take care of his mental health.
“After speaking more with my team and working with an incredible group of health professionals, it has become more clear that I need to take the time I’ve never taken personally to ground myself and come back stronger,” he said.
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile hits theaters on October 7.