As James Corden’s hugely successful stint as host of The Late Late Show draws to a close this year, the ebullient Brit looks ahead to future projects, with his three children centre-stage.
It’s fair to say it’s not been a year of perfect PR for James Corden. Never one to shy away from the limelight he has skilfully positioned in front of over the past two decades, his retirement from presenting duties on CBS staple The Late Late Show coincided with a rather unfortunate episode at high-end New York restaurant Balthazar – an impromptu performance of culinary discontent that earned him a ban from the Manhattan establishment, although the 44-year-old made peace with irate owner Keith McNally.
So with an eye on mending his reputation further, in 2023 he may well look to pursue what has been a skilful run of voiceover work on animated projects.
On that front, Corden may admit to being at his peak during 2018’s Peter Rabbit, in which he voiced the lead character. Bit-parts since in Ocean’s 8 and Yesterday, combined with various other voice roles – notably Trolls World Tour, Superintelligence and of course 2021’s Peter Rabbit sequel, The Runaway – confirm that the London-born actor is a man big on intention but short on time… something that’s understandable when you consider his home life revolves around wife Julia and three children, Max, 11, Carey, eight, and Charlotte, five.
“Having a third child blew my mind all over again,” he begins, “and more and more now I find myself looking out for the sorts of projects that will make them happy, rather than me!”
Certainly, as far as time restraints go, we can forgive, up until now, the former Fat Friends and Gavin & Stacey star his intention to steer clear of major roles. That looks likely to change in 2023, with huge parts of his schedule, freed up for creative work – something you sense he is keen to return to.
“Obviously, I’m glad to have maintained the work I have. Voice work is a lot easier to slot in and I’ve loved it as it works for the time I’ve had in my schedule. In this next phase, I’m excited about just really going after something, rather than having to try to squeeze it in awkwardly.”
While Corden is portrayed as someone who has cracked the US with a slightly brazen, arrogant attitude, the truth could not be much different. Even when it comes to straight drama, he expresses hesitancy and caution. “I think people believe that with modern filmmaking anything is possible, and everything can be made to look good. Yet on so many occasions you go through lines or rock up on set with profound doubts about a project.
“Even Peter Rabbit felt like an absolutely huge thing to take on. There isn’t a child in Britain who didn’t grow up reading Beatrix Potter – those stories have been around for generations and generations, so it felt wrong tampering with a classic.
“The fact that it turned out so beautifully has been reassuring in that sometimes you just need to have faith in the fact others know better and have been doing things a lot longer than you!”
And while one would believe Corden continues to earn some serious cool dad points with his focus on child-centric entertainment, he admits that often his brood couldn’t care less!
“It washes over them quite quickly,” he says. “At certain ages, they don’t really equate you doing a silly voice in the front room any differently to them hearing you speak on the telly.
“It’s a beautifully simple way of looking at life. And if one day I’m Peter Rabbit and the next I’m the Gruffalo, and then next I’m in a car driving around LA engaged in a rap battle with Dame Helen Mirren, then so be it, I guess!”