“When I got the call, I didn’t even know who James Corden was. I had to Google him,” confesses production designer Lou Trabbie. Of course, Trabbie got the job anyway for “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” which began in 2015 on CBS. Watch our exclusive video interview above about his work on the program and his admission that “James is super talented and an awesome boss!”
In being a production designer on this late night variety talk series, Trabbie explains, Everything is on the fly. Sometimes I find out early in the morning I need a set done by 2. Sometimes I panic for a minute. But we just sort of make it happen. I feel you are only as good as the people you hire and I have an awesome team.”
This past season he designed a set for a “50 Shades of Grey” parody where the famous room full of adult toys was replaced with a room of elaborate model train sets. Trabbie adds, “For ‘50 Shades of Trains’ my crew made the train set. They made it all and painted it. It was actually really fun and so different. I think it was my favorite thing I’ve done on the show in the two and a half years I’ve been here.”
Over his time on the show one of the more challenging segments to design has been ‘Soundtrack to..’ In it Corden and an actress will perform a medley of songs through different sets to tell an overarching story. Trabbie says the segment is “like a puzzle. Sometimes it’s like nine sets. I know what fits well on the stage and I piece it together so it can flow from set to set. Those are sort of difficult. We haven’t done one in a while; we’re probably due. I’m now looking forward to doing another one.”
He also does the production design for the “Carpool Karaoke” segments and annual specials. He explains that “for Kelly Clarkson, we had a little dinner date in the back seat. So I built a little table that fit in the Range Rover. And we had flowers and covered strawberries. Just simple stuff but it’s always fun.”
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