James Corden is getting honest about his post-Late Late Show steps, admitting to some uncertainty about his future and revealing hopes to return to the theater.
“There’s loads of things I’d love to do, but they’re very reliant on people wanting me to do them,” Corden said at a PaleyFest event in Los Angeles on Sunday, where he took part in a panel alongside Late Late Show executive producers Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe, in a conversation that was moderated by Bryan Cranston. He added, “I think it’s going to be really important to take a breath and take a minute” to decompress from the last eight years, and with plans for his family to move back to England this summer.
Cranston asked if Corden would like to return to the theater at some point — he won a Tony in 2012 for his performance in One Man, Two Guvnors — as the host professed, “It couldn’t feel more urgent within me to leave to do that. I will be really, really upset with myself if, in the next year or year and a half or so, I don’t go do another play or revisit a play I’ve already done. I would give anything to go back and do a show again, I’d give absolutely anything.”
“I haven’t felt this scared since I decided to take the show, to move here,” Corden said of his future. “I haven’t felt on such unstable ground,” but acknowledged “I have to embrace that fear.”
When Cranston expressed surprise at his anxiety, Corden explained, “I’m just aware that what I’m trying to do isn’t the road that’s often traveled, to go from like National Theatre, writing a TV show on the BBC, Broadway, host of a late-night talk show, shooting stuff in the middle of that, stopping the late-night talk show and then going, ‘Oh, I’d like to do another play now.’ It just isn’t the road that’s been traveled to my knowledge, so with that comes a huge amount of fear. It’s terrifying, it’s absolutely terrifying.”
The Late Late Show is now in its final month, with its last episode scheduled to air on CBS on April 27. Corden said they have 12 episodes left to do, and they will likely be the biggest shows they’ve ever done. That will include three “Carpool Karaoke” sessions and one of his famous “Crosswalk the Musical” segments, as well as the teased Lion King musical performance with Corden as Timon and Tom Cruise as Pumbaa. Corden will also participate in a “Take a Break” segment featuring the Kardashian family.
During the 90-minute panel, the trio reflected on their favorite moments throughout the show’s eight years and played a live version of their game “Spill Your Guts or Fill Your Guts” on stage. Corden also revealed one of their craziest ideas that never came to be, which included Jennifer Lopez living with him in a glass box suspended over Sunset Boulevard for an entire day in promotion of her 2022 Netflix documentary Halftime.
Corden admitted it “feels incredibly strange” to be ending the show, and “to walk away from something you love so much.”
“It’s not right because you’re having such a great time, I get to go to work with all of my best friends…but then at the same time I’m so certain it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m so absolutely certain that we did everything we wanted to do and I think it’s really important to have things end.” And of his hopes for the finale, he added he wants “to go out with everything we made the show about: joy, love, gratitude.”
James Corden Talks Final ‘Late Late’ Shows and Next Steps, With Hopes to Return to Theater: “It’s Absolutely Terrifying”