James Corden is coming home again.
The affable late-night host is bringing his “Late Late Show” back to London for a week of shows starting Monday (CBS, 12:37 a.m. EST/PST). Episodes will feature familiar segments with a decidedly British spin, and a star-studded guest roster that includes Chris Pratt, Cher, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Niall Horan and Foo Fighters.
Corden, 39, chats with USA TODAY about what to expect from his second U.K. trip.
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Question: You shot a Carpool Karaoke segment with Paul McCartney in Liverpool. Is there one moment that sticks out about that day?
Corden: It’s all memorable. It’s kind of insane, if you think about it — you’re talking about possibly the most famous person in the world. He’s the most respected musician on the planet, and that he would come to do a segment on our show is mind-blowing to me. He told me a story about how he wrote “Let It Be,” which I’d never heard before. It really moved me, so I can’t wait to share it with people. (The segment is scheduled to air Thursday.)
Q: One of your children is named after Paul. How did that come about?
Corden: I was trying to get Paul to do a charity sketch and I said to him, “If you’ll do this, I will name my unborn child after you.” And he said, “Deal. I’ll do it.” So when my son, Max, was born, we called him Max McCartney Corden and I sent Paul a picture of the birth certificate saying, “I’m good for my word.” Paul just thought it was insane and ridiculous, and a week later, this beautiful blanket arrived that was embroidered, “To Max, from one McCartney to another. Love, Your Uncle Paul.” It really tells you everything you need to know about the man. It was quite wonderful.
Q: On last summer’s trip, you shot a Take a Break segment at Harrods. And this year, you worked a day at the Savoy hotel. Which was more difficult?
Corden: It’s odd to think which is harder. Which place did I become more of a nuisance? I would say almost certainly the Savoy. I worked quite a long time out front as one of the doormen. I used to be in a play called “One Man, Two Guvnors,” which was (across the street) from the Savoy at the Adelphi Theatre. The main doorman, Tony, kindly let me park my car at the hotel every day. So it felt strange being in a uniform there with him directing traffic. I really enjoyed it.
Q: You really went right for the big gun, doing Crosswalk the Musical with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Was that daunting?
Corden: It’s so ridiculous and so wonderful. God bless him. He was just the most incredible sport for the whole thing. When I talked to him about it, I said, “Look, we’d love if there’s any way you could find it in yourself to try and act like this is the pinnacle of your entire career’s work to be honored on the crosswalk,” and he was like, “Oh, absolutely.” So we have Andrew Lloyd Webber on a cherry picker that we covered in a red curtain 18 feet in the air in a tuxedo with opera glasses looking on as I’m dressed as Eva Peron doing “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” (from “Evita”). It’s so silly, but I really love him for it.
Q: How do Londoners typically react to the crosswalk shows, compared to Americans?
Corden: The problem is, there’s just more people walking around. So you end up with this huge audience of people watching, but you have to try and navigate them so that they’re not in the back of the shot. Because the point is that it should absolutely feel like you’re just performing for these motorists in the car and it doesn’t really work if there’s 300 people on the sidewalk with their camera phones, you know? Logistically, that’s the biggest problem.
Q: Where are you planning to take your kids while you’re there?
Corden: We’re going to take them to Paris, actually. We didn’t know this, but my son, who is 7, announced to us that he has always wanted to go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower. We don’t quite know where this has come from, but we’re thrilled that it has come, so we’re going to take him there.