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Close Up March 18

FILM INTERVIEW I just

FILM INTERVIEW I just feel very fortunate that I was able to work with a director and writer like Will who just understands the legacy of the character and the world that it lives in. ...I was just able to turn up in my pyjamas and do this for a few hours at a time! 28

FILM INTERVIEW Funny FROM Bunny! TO James Corden talks about starring in Peter Rabbit, and what his son thinks of his new film. There are few British stars that have made as much of an impact on Hollywood as James Corden. The British comedy actor was a star over here thanks to Gavin and Stacey, The History Boys and The Wrong Mans. He also counted a number of stars as his friends, including David Beckham and the late George Michael, both starring in a sketch with him for Comic Relief. Despite his success, he was a relative unknown when he got the hosting job for US TV chat show The Late Late Show in 2014. Luckily, in a short time he became a household name thanks to his star interviews and the buzz surrounding the show’s Carpool Karaoke segment. Now, Hollywood has come calling with a very British role. He voices the title character in Peter Rabbit, a family film that uses a mix of animation and live action to bring Beatrix Potter’s classic character to life. Peter torments Mr McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) along with a whole host of farmyard friends, voiced by the likes of Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley and Sia. So, what was it like getting into the mindset of an animated rabbit? “I don’t know that I ever (did)!” he reveals at a press conference for the film. “In the conversations that I had with Will (Gluck, director), it was never about ‘channelling my inner rabbit’, it was about how do we find a way to honour this character that is so beloved by fans of Beatrix Potter? How do we unlock this lovable, mischievous character that has been created in these beautiful books, and honour it now in a film? I just feel very fortunate that I was able to work with a director and writer like Will who just understands the legacy of the character and the world that it lives in.” The biggest challenge for everyone, especially Corden, was to make an over 100 year old character relevant to the smart phone generation. “More than anything we just want to reintroduce this character to so many young people who will hopefully leave the movie theater and go and discover these incredible books” he explains. The process for making an animated voice over is always an odd one, and the 39-year-old admits to a little bit of ‘impostor syndrome’. “I feel like a bit of a fraud sitting next to Domhnall and Rose (Byrne) who were out there doing all this proper acting” he chuckles, “whereas I was just able to turn up in my pyjamas and do this for a few hours at a time!” It’s much more than coming in and reading lines on a page, however. “I don’t know if you’d ever call it improvisation” he explains, “it was much more discussing if this line felt right or if that feels right, then going into the screening room and watching it as a whole, and going ‘no that bit doesn’t feel quite right we should take it out and change it’. It was a constantly evolving feast, really, which actually made the whole thing feel very organic.” Working in a film with animals can inspire many actors to become pet owners themselves, but the star of In A League of Their Own has some very individual ideas for names if he ever adopted a rabbit. “Today is a monumental day. Not because we’re all here. Because it was announced today that The Spice Girls are reforming. I swear on my life. All five” he jokes. “So I would not get one rabbit. I’d get five rabbits. I would name them Scary, Baby, Sporty, Posh and Ginger.” The film has been released in America and has enjoyed a strong opening weekend, confirming that James Corden’s transition from Brit favourite to bona fide movie star. However, there’s only one critic Corden himself is concerned with, his young son Max. “My Son is 6 and he’s seen the film” he reveals. “He said that the thing he loves about the film is that everybody makes mistakes and everyone is going to make mistakes. But what’s important is how you react to that mistake and the person you are after.” Finally, the questions had to return to wildlife at some point! Corden has chatted with the most famous people in the world with Carpool Karaoke, including One Direction, Elton John, Lady Gaga and the First lady Michelle Obama. However, which one of the animated friends from Peter Rabbit would make it on to the segment? “It would have to be all the animals” he says diplomatically. “They’d sing a whole collection of songs that have animals in it…’Who Let The Dogs Out’ and songs like that.” Peter Rabbit is released 16th March 29

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