James Corden interview: ‘Mammals’
“Anyone who isn’t wracked with a huge amount of doubt I can’t understand,” admits James Corden. For our recent webchat he continues, “Everything I do, I’m thinking, ‘should I be here?’ I don’t even think it’s the nature of being a performer, I think it’s the nature of being a human being.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Corden stars in the dark comedy series “Mammals” on Amazon Prime. He plays Jamie, a chef who discovers heart-breaking secrets about his wife. The show deftly shifts from high drama to nuanced comedic beats as it explores love and infidelity. Twists are revealed in a fashion befitting a mystery, providing a context that changes the light in which the characters are seen.
“Mammals” is written by Jez Butterworth, who won the Best Play Tony award for “The Ferryman” in 2019. Corden explains, “He wants to make a show that says we’re all flawed. All of us. The way we look at relationships is probably through a lens that doesn’t necessarily suit human behavior. Sometimes the biggest moments in life are surrounded by some of the smallest. If I think about any grief that I’ve had in my life, these huge moments drop into your day. It’s very rarely reflected in film that the day’s still carrying on. A huge moment might come between you ordering a salad and it arriving. Something huge might happen in your life and then your food arrives and it’s the tiniest most ordinary thing. But in that moment right there, it’s completely different. The way he’s written it feels completely unique of this show.”
In the third episode Jamie confronts his wife. Corden reveals, “There was a positive [COVID] test and we had to shut down the set. It meant everything you see in the restaurant was shot in one day. For that scene, we essentially had 10 minutes. I had to completely let go of the scene. I thought this has to be kind of jazz. I’m proud of that scene because of the constraints we were under. I didn’t really feel like I was doing a scene. It was a feeling of, ‘we probably only have one take of this (we ended up having two), so whatever happens, it will be.’ That will always stay with me.”
Corden has hosted “The Late Late Show with James Corden” for CBS since 2015. He announced earlier this year he would be ending his time on the CBS staple. Corden reflects, “I always knew that this wasn’t going to be forever. This was going to be an adventure; it wasn’t my final destination. If I’m completely honest with myself, I basically said yes to any acting opportunity that would come my way. I didn’t want it to be a shock when I finished the show and would go back to doing this. Doing a project like ‘Mammals’ made me feel like I need to think very carefully about what I gravitate towards. All of us feel like we could be capable of more than this. So when those things come along you are immediately surrounded by a huge amount of fear; ‘what if I’m not capable of this?’ The test of it I found life changing.”