The multi-tal­ented Bri­tish fun­ny­man couldn’t help but be drawn to lend­ing his voice to the mis­chievous role of clas­sic bunny Peter Rabbit

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - NEWS - NEALA JOHN­SON

Mis­chief is James Corden’s mid­dle name. Whether making Adele’s eyes pop at his smash­ing har­mon­is­ing, caus­ing com­i­cal chaos on stage in One Man, Two Gu­vnors or on telly with The Late Late Show, or giv­ing voice to Beatrix Pot­ter’s prized cre­ation in the new movie Peter Rabbit, the English fun­ny­man has made a career out of making mis­chief.

“You just wanna try and bring a bit of light­ness and lit­tle patches of joy wher­ever you can of­fer it up,” says the 39-year-old of his modus operandi.

It’s that vibe di­rec­tor Will Gluck was af­ter when he de­cided Corden was the only per­son to give voice to Peter Rabbit. And Corden has to ad­mit the role suits.

“I am a fan of mis­chief, there’s no deny­ing that,” he says, from his adopted home of LA. “I’m a fan of mis­chief and fun and that’s all Peter is re­ally ever on the look­out for.”

Where Peter can’t re­frain from steal­ing from Mr McGre­gor’s veg­gie patch de­spite his mother’s fre­quent warn­ings, the young Corden couldn’t re­sist raid­ing his mum’s bak­ing trays.

“I would al­ways be the one steal­ing cakes,” he ad­mits. “If my mum said, ‘You can only have one of these choco­lates from the bowl’, I would al­ways be try­ing to steal two, for sure.”

Gluck and Aus­tralian stu­dio An­i­mal Logic worked closely with the keep­ers of Pot­ter’s es­tate to cap­ture the spirit of her sto­ries in the live ac­tion/ an­i­ma­tion hy­brid Peter Rabbit.

Like many, Corden was read those sto­ries as a child. “It was the first time I’d ever heard a story where a char­ac­ter was re­ally naughty. I re­mem­ber think­ing, ‘This is amaz­ing!’,” he laughs. “Then you very quickly re­alise that ev­ery time he was naughty it comes back to bite him on the bum.”

The film opens with Peter, cousin Ben­jamin and lit­tle sis­ters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cot­ton-Tail in a run­ning war with old McGre­gor and bask­ing in the glow of his kindly neigh­bour Bea (Rose Byrne).

When McGre­gor keels over, Peter thinks he’s set for life – un­til Mr McGre­gor’s up­tight nephew Thomas (Domh­nall Glee­son) ar­rives from Lon­don and ups se­cu­rity around the veg­gie patch. It makes for a feel-good fam­ily romp in the vein of the Padding­ton movies or an­other Aussie-made clas­sic, Babe.

Peter Rabbit was largely shot in Syd­ney, mean­ing Glee­son was run­ning around Cen­ten­nial Park do­ing his best prat­falls in the 40C heat of an Aussie sum­mer. Corden, mean­while, never stepped out of his air-con­di­tioned voice booth in LA.

“It’s not fun putting a man of his dis­po­si­tion in such weather,” Corden tut-tuts of the suf­fer­ing im­posed on the gin­ger-haired Ir­ish­man. “I was in my sweat­pants do­ing this voice, eat­ing snacks, watch­ing him throw him­self against walls think­ing, ‘Oh bless him’.”

That’s not to say Corden didn’t work up a mild sweat.

“Sometimes you get a lit­tle bit light-headed when you’re do­ing all the run­ning and the pant­ing and the ‘OK, come on guys, let’s go!’,” he says.

Corden was con­sid­ered a sur­prise choice to host the in­ter­net-break­ing Late Late Show in the US, where he was largely un­known. But in his na­tive UK and be­yond, the big­ger sur­prise might have been why Corden ac­cepted the job. The why is fam­ily: his wife Ju­lia, son Max, al­most seven, daugh­ter Carey, three, and a three-month-old baby (name yet to be pub­licly con­firmed).

“At the time I took the job, my wife was preg­nant with our sec­ond child, we’ve now just had our third ... and I don’t wanna leave ’em, you know,” says Corden.

“I don’t want to be go­ing off to At­lanta or Van­cou­ver or Aus­tralia wher­ever those things might take place. I just want to be around my chil­dren as they grow up.”

Corden’s de­ci­sion ap­pears a savvy one. He has kept his toe in film, with an ap­pear­ance in Ocean’s 8 com­ing in June.

“That I would be of­fered a part in a film with San­dra Bul­lock, that’s mind-blow­ing to me,” he says, “let alone San­dra Bul­lock, Cate Blanchett, He­lena Bon­ham Carter, Ri­hanna, Anne Hath­away and Mindy Kal­ing.”

And he has wound up cre­at­ing a cul­tural phe­nom­e­non in The Late Late Show’s “Car­pool Karaoke” seg­ment. It’s pro­vided him with the kinds of ex­pe­ri­ences he wouldn’t trade for quids. What stands out?

“Oh man, how long have you got?” Corden sighs.

“Singing in a car with Adele or Bruno Mars. Get­ting to ride around with Michelle Obama or rap bat­tle with Dame Helen Mir­ren or run out into a road and sing songs with Hugh Jack­man. These are all things which, if I could tell my 12year-old self that this would be his life, his head would ex­plode, you know?” Peter Rabbit opens to­day, just in time for Easter

Pic­ture: MEGA

Fun­ny­man James Corden was de­lighted to voice every­one’s favourite bunny in the new film Peter Rabbit.

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