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July 22, 2015

Night Moves

James Corden puts his singular Brit spin on late night.

Juan Morales

Since taking over CBS’s Late Late Show on March 23, James Corden has freshened up the nighttime-talk block with several innovations.

Among them: having guests appear together, conducting interviews away from the desk and — perhaps most memorably — knocking on doors in the neighborhood near his studio until a resident agreed to let Corden and crew broadcast an episode from his living room.

Early stats have been solid, especially on the digital front — where, between social media, YouTube views and traffic to its official website, the show has a Godzilla-sized footprint. Even so, many of Corden’s viewers are still getting to know him, so emmy prepared a primer on the guy CBS Entertainment chairman Nina Tassler describes as “a cross between Fred Astaire and Jack Black.”

First things first: Like his predecessor Craig Ferguson, Corden is a Brit — albeit a native of the London suburb High Wycombe, with a decidedly plummier accent than Ferguson’s Glaswegian burr. But wait, there’s more…

He’s a fixture on U.K. TV…

In addition to roles in shows like Boyz Unlimited, Teachers, Fat Friends — even Dr. Who — Corden co-created (with Ruth Jones) and costarred in Gavin & Stacey, the comedic romance about a suburban London lad who falls for a coworker from Wales.

Corden won a BAFTA in 2008 for his performance as Gavin’s best mate, Smithy. More recently, he co-created (with Matthew Baynton) and costarred in the action comedy The Wrong Mans. Both are available on Hulu.

He’s been in lots of movies…

More than a dozen, in fact. Art-house habitués may recall his heartbreaking non-comedic turn in the Mike Leigh drama All or Nothing and as one of the students in The History Boys, directed by Nicholas Hytner. He’s also made it to multiplexes courtesy of Gulliver’s Travels and, most recently, Into the Woods.

Let’s not forget his theater work…

From a one-liner in the 1996 musical Martin Guerre, Corden went on to appear in the original London productions of The History Boys (in a role he reprised in the film adaptation) and the giddy farce One Man, Two Guvnors. When the latter moved to Broadway in 2012, he won a Tony for best performance by a leading actor in a play — besting Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Frank Langella and John Lithgow.

Or his hosting gigs…

Corden has emceed a slew of awards shows, game shows and specials — including the music-themed BRIT Awards and the smart-alecky sports panel A League of Their Own.

And this bloke can sing…

Corden crooned with Emily Blunt in Into the Woods and has been known to credibly break into song on Channel 4’s The Big Fat Quiz of the Year. In 2010 he joined British rapper Dizzee Rascal on the song “Shout for England,” an anthem to support the national team in the 2010 World Cup. And his debut on The Late Late Show closed with a sweet piano ballad.

Oh, yeah, he’s an author, too!

In 2011, he published an autobiography, May I Have Your Attention, Please?



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