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James Corden on ‘Late Late Show’ From London: ‘This Is Not a Country That Feels Afraid’

Variety logo Variety 6/6/2017 Stewart Clarke
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In the wake of the weekend terror attacks on London, James Corden opened the first of his three “Late Late” shows from the British capital with a defiant message: “I’m so proud to be broadcasting here from my hometown, proud to show off its beauty, its diversity, and its stoic British determination to let nothing or anybody stand in our way,” he said. “This is not a country that feels afraid.”

Corden told Variety this week that the “Late Late Show” team had to rework the intro to the first of the London shows following the terror attack which claimed seven lives. In a piece prerecorded near the Houses of Parliament, close to where the U.K. shows are being filmed, and about a mile from the attack, he said he wanted to deliver the most fun-packed shows ever in defiance of the terrorists.

“Some people might say it’s a strange time to do a variety show from this city; I couldn’t disagree more,” Corden said. “Just over there is the House of Parliament, a building that represents democracy, something the people who carried out this attack hate.” He continued: “We want the stupidest, most fun-packed shows we’ve ever made for you to celebrate London and Britain and everything it has to offer, and you know what: the people who carried out that attack would hate that, too.”

Corden was joined by guests Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”) and Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”) on the show, who said she wanted to be in Britain “to support England and London right now.” Off-camera, Corden also called on the audience to make as much noise as possible to show that Londoners were not scared, despite U.S. media reports that he said suggested otherwise.

The “Late Late Show” host also weighed into Donald Trump’s spat with London mayor Sadiq Khan, and said the U.K. politician’s comments had been taken out of context by the U.S. president, before proceeding to deliberately doing the same with one of President Trump’s tweets so it just read “Sorry folks.”

“We talk about Donald Trump almost every night on this show and I thought when I came to London I would finally get away from him for a little while and I head here and who does he start a fight with? The mayor of London,” Corden said in his introductory comments in the studio. “Honestly, he’s following me. I’m not joking, he’s totally obsessed with me; I think it’s because I’m blonde and have big boobs.”

Security was tight at the filming, with guests asked not to bring any bags, provide photo ID, and subject to full searches before entry. The opening London show had a “Carpool Karaoke” segment with Ed Sheeran, which was shot in L.A., and a recreation of a famous musical in the “Crosswalk Karaoke” section that featured Sir Ben Kingsley.

Guests later in the week will include Tom Cruise and Russell Brand, with Kings of Leon also scheduled to play. The band was going to be the first to play the Manchester Arena since the attack on Ariana Grande’s concert, but on Tuesday said they had been forced to cancel the gig.

Sky will transmit all three “Late Late Shows” this week in a 10 p.m. slot on its flagship Sky 1 channel. In the U.S., the show will air on CBS as usual. The show is produced by CBS TV Studios and Fulwell 73, the U.K.-based production company in which Corden recently became a partner.

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