James Corden has given more insight into how Tom Cruise persuaded him to join him in a fighter jet for a “The Late Late Show” sketch.
“A few days before [the flight] I had a genuine worry,” he said during a Q&A session at the Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge, U.K. on Thursday afternoon. “I ended up going, like, ‘He’s an actor, he’s NOT a pilot.’ Like, respectfully, it’s just the two of us in an airplane. If something happens then we die.”
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“And worse than my own death is my children growing up and people going ‘Their dad killed Tom Cruise,’” he added.
Corden said that he tried to back out of the stunt when Cruise called him and said: “James, your life is more valuable than mine. You’re not in danger.”
In a wide-ranging chat, Corden also discussed his strategy when he first took over CBS late-night show eight years ago, explaining it was always intended to “embrace the internet.”
“The show’s on at 12.30 at night,” he explained. Instead, he wanted to make a show that is “available to watch all day and all night wherever you are. [During] your commute into work. Your lunch break. Whenever.”
Part of that strategy was building a digital team and even considering what night to air certain shows, because, Corden said, fewer people watched on a Friday than the middle of the week.
Asked about the massive celebrity appearances the show became known for – with guests including everyone from Michelle Obama to Justin Bieber – he said it was “very much built on those guest appearances as all talk shows are.”
As to how Corden and his team, including exec producer Ben Winston, managed to persuade those guests to come on he again described a strategy mapped out on a granular level. It was about “creating a safe environment [for guests] that was celebratory” he said while adding that details like renovating the dressing rooms backstage to make them comfortable for a star’s entourage – including their make-up artists and publicists – made a “huge difference if you’re asking for more time which inevitably we were.”
Corden said he has no plans to jump into another project right now – “I’m very purposefully trying to not do anything for a minute,” he told the RTS audience – but that he was “thinking a lot at the minute about half hour comedies.”
The “Gavin and Stacey” actor said he thought the secret to a successful half-hour comedy was “Found family in predominantly three locations.”
“I think ‘The Bear’ is closer to ‘Taxi’ than any of us could imagine,” he explained. “And arguably ‘The Bear’ is at its weakest when they leave those three locations. When you think about ‘Friends’ or ‘The Office’ or ‘Porridge’ or ‘Dad’s Army’ these people are found family in predominantly three locations. ‘Gavin and Stacey’s’ two families that become one family and their friends become a family.”
The output at streamers, meanwhile, often “feels like a race for a press release without a thought of, well, actually, [what’s going to happen] when this is finished?”
“The more you can know exactly who your audience is then you’re going to stand a much greater chance of having hit shows on TV.”
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