‘Late Late Show’ Producers Preview James Corden’s London Shows

Sir Ben Kingsley tapes 'Crosswalk the Musical: Mary Poppins' with James Corden in London for <em>The Late Late Show with James Corden </em> (Photo: Craig Sugden/CBS)
Sir Ben Kingsley tapes ‘Crosswalk the Musical: Mary Poppins’ with James Corden in London for The Late Late Show with James Corden (Photo: Craig Sugden/CBS)

Starting June 6, The Late Late Show with James Corden will broadcast three nights from London, the host’s hometown. Together with Corden, executive producers Ben Winston and Rob Crabbe have been planning the trip pretty much since they confirmed it would happen some six months ago. They’ll tape the shows at Central Hall Westminster, in a beautiful Methodist church that asked them to wait until after Sunday services to start converting the space into an 800-seat functioning studio. “We didn’t want to make a show in a television studio because if we did, then it wouldn’t feel like we are in London. Ultimately, that television studio can be anywhere,” Winston says. “I think the biggest challenge has been just creating a studio with the same enthusiasm that our L.A. home has.”

Here, the duo offers Yahoo TV a preview of what to expect:

1. A slightly revised opening to Tuesday’s show. In light of Saturday night’s terror attack in London, they’ve made tweaks to the big comedy open they originally had planned. “It didn’t feel like the right tone for the first time we are in the room, introducing ourselves to a British audience in the UK,” Crabbe says. “It won’t be somber, but it will be a message about the events. It will establish what we plan to do here this week in celebrating London.”

Adds Winston, “Yes, rather than starting with a big song and dance we do want to address it. We want to talk about what happened this week. But also, we want to explain why, apart from that, we are not changing a thing. Because if anything, this week for us is about carrying on as normal and having fun and celebrating London and creating comedy. That’s why we changed the opening — so we can talk about that so that we change nothing else.

2. Crosswalk the Musical: Mary Poppins. Tuesday’s show will feature first-time guest Nicole Kidman, Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harington, and a Carpool Karaoke with British rocker Ed Sheeran (that was actually shot in LA, because Carpool Karaokes take a couple of weeks to edit). We’ll also see the return of Crosswalk the Musical, which, thanks to Twitter, we know was shot May 31 in London and features special guest Sir Ben Kingsley.

“We just thought it was amazing, the idea that this celebrated actor, Academy Award winner, would be willing to put on a bird outfit and dance on a crosswalk in London. Him being a great sport and up for it and committed to it, it was too great of an opportunity,” Crabbe says. Still, the segment was not without its difficulties. The main challenge? “Trying to find a wide enough crosswalk in London,” Crabbe says. When they shoot by the show’s studio in Los Angeles, they’ve got a six-lane highway. “When we’re shooting ‘Crosswalk’ at Beverly and Genesee, which we’re very happy to shoot there, we are sort of setting up at a ’76 gas station, and when we shoot in London, we are setting up at a 16th century church where we are setting our craft services table. It’s just a different vibe here,” Crabbe says.

They’re not complaining, Winston notes: “I know this because I lived here for all of my life, apart from when I moved out to make The Late Late Show. It’s like you put a camera down in the heart of London and it looks like an Oliver Twist or Mary Poppins film. It feels like you are on a studio’s beautiful film set everywhere you go around London. I think that’s been a lovely thing for us.”

Tom Cruise with James Corden in London for <em>The Late Late Show with James Corden </em> (Photo: Craig Sugden/CBS)
Tom Cruise with James Corden in London for The Late Late Show with James Corden (Photo: Craig Sugden/CBS)

3. Another great sketch with Tom Cruise. Having already acted out his film career with Corden last year, Cruise returns on Wednesday’s show for a segment that, judging from the photo above, involves “Tom’s Cruise on the River Thames Corden.” That night also boasts a “Drop the Mic” with Jennifer Hudson, a musical performance by Kings of Leon, world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, and Russell Brand.

4. More returning favorites… Thursday’s show features David Beckham, “a really ambitious bit with Emily Blunt,” and a musical performance by friend of the show Harry Styles.

5. “Take a Break: Harrods.” At some point, we’ll witness Corden working at the fruit counter, in the chocolate section, and in the toy kingdom of the famed department store. “I didn’t think we would be able to pull it off. They never allow film crews into Harrods,” Winston says. “Unbelievably, a couple of weeks ago, they came back to us and said we were allowed to do it. That’s a really, really funny piece that we are excited about.”

6. What you won’t see: a new “Toddlerography.” “I am not convinced that the world is crying out for a British version of that just yet,” Winston says. “I don’t think they’d dance as bravely as the American kids. I think British kids might be a little more shy at that age.”

“But,” Crabbe interjects, “keep your eyes peeled for a couple British kids in Crosswalk the Musical. We did have cute British kids.”

James Corden performs 'Crosswalk the Musical: Mary Poppins' in London (Photo: Craig Sugden/CBS)
James Corden performs ‘Crosswalk the Musical: Mary Poppins’ in London (Photo: Craig Sugden/CBS)

The Late Late Show airs weeknights at 12:35 a.m. on CBS.

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