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Lesbian Vampire Killers - James Corden interview

Lesbian Vampire Killers

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JAMES Corden talks to us about his new movie Lesbian Vampire Killers, why he hates horror films and why he and Gavin & Stacey co-star Mathew Horne are concerned about over-exposure at this moment in time.

He also reveals his Take That obsession, why appearing with Hollywood comedian Jack Black in new movie Gulliver’s Travels is a dream come true, and why Gavin & Stacey was second only to Barrack Obama as a US TV favourite last year.

Q. Did horror, eroticism and comedy provide quite a tantalising mixture and was your favourite sequence the shower room scene?
James Corden: It wasn’t my favourite scene, actually. It was probably one of the worst days. It was a really long day where we were really wet and covered in goo. There were two girls… one, Ashley and then another in a whole body suit where half her face had decayed. So, there was nothing erotic in it in any way. And then there’s Paul McGann shouting the Lord’s prayer. It took a long time.

When it comes to comedy and horror, I don’t really come from a horror background. In fact, I don’t really like horror films and I don’t really enjoy being scared. I quite like romantic comedies and things. Whereas, the minute you meet Phil [Claydon, director] and talk to him about film it feels like he’s been living in a country where they only show horror movies! Other films don’t exist so much, really. So, there were so many times during the making of the film where Phil would talk about scenes being an homage to something obscure. But with myself and Matthew [Horne] loving comedy so much, I think the three of us worked really well together.

Q. Did you both want to do a movie together and then this came along?
James Corden: It’s amazing actually… we both went along and auditioned for this film before Gavin & Stacey had ever aired, about two years ago. Matt rang when I was in the cab on the way and I said: “I’m auditioning for this Lesbian Vampire Killers film…” And Matt said he went in yesterday and we both talked about how good it was and how much we really loved the script. But then the funding for the film fell away. Phil has been the beating heart of this film since then really. It’s kind of inspiring how he never lost faith in it.

There were points in the last two years where this film was just dead in the water. I certainly felt like maybe we’d missed the chance to do it. But Phil never gave up. And then Steve Clarke-Hall, who produced the film, came on board and it felt like he really grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and said: “We’re going to get this film made!” That coincided with Gavin & Stacey starting to do better and us both becoming better well known. So, then it was happening and the money was there. But we only had seven weeks where we could do it, and Phil said that was exactly the time they wanted to make the film… I honestly didn’t believe it was happening until the first day of shooting.

Q. How much input did you have into the script? And did you ever think you could have made it funnier?
James Corden: Oh God no! I never thought that once. What’s great is that the script as you see in the film is pretty much what it was on the page. It was a really tight script. It had a lot of laughs and the character relationships were great. At times, we’d do takes as it was on the page and Phil would say: “Let’s do another one and mess around a bit – take it where you’d like to see it go.” So, to have that freedom was brilliant. Some of the stuff stayed in, and some didn’t.

Q. Did Paul McGann’s comedic instincts surprise you at all?
James Corden: He was great. Matt and I were sort of in awe of him really. I did a lot of my scenes with Paul in the film and in a lot of those I’m wearing a long coat. So, I would sway the coat and in my head I’d imagine that I was in Withnail And I and just do that a lot of the time. I’d also try and slip lines in, but he wouldn’t ever bite. He’s so good in this film. He does it with such conviction. He really, really goes for it and the whole experience of working with him was great.

Q. Do you worry about over-exposure given that you now have the film, the Brits, the TV show and more Gavin & Stacey in the offering?
James Corden: It’s a constant worry! It’s so weird walking in and seeing myself in a magazine, or on buses and phone boxes. In one sense, it’s great that they’re both coming out at the same time because it means we just have to do this and then we can go for a bit. Hopefully, we’ll resurface later. We hope we’re not getting on anyone’s nerves because that’s the last thing that we want to do. It is genuinely a concern but it really is out of our hands.

Q. Has the success of the TV programme meant that you’ve received tonnes more offers?
James Corden: That’s the hardest thing about it really. Up until last year, I was just an actor and I’d go up for an audition for jobs and if I got them, I did them, and if I didn’t… that was it. You have to eat and you have to live. Whereas now, the hardest thing is choosing what to do and making the right choice. But I think the key is to just try and do things that are good, and be good in them. You’ll always make mistakes and you’ll miss the mark sometimes. That’s inevitably going to happen, because the best people in the world make mistakes – even people who are brilliant. So, you’ve just got to hope that if you strive just to be in stuff that’s good, then hopefully that’ll be enough to hold us in good stead.

Q. Is Gavin & Stacey a show that has an underground following in America, like The Office?
James Corden: It’s playing on BBC America and I know that it’s done well. The LA Times at Christmas…. their TV reviewer, in his list of the 10 best TV events of the year, put Gavin & Stacey at number two. The US election was No.1. So, I still felt like we were No.1 because we were the only TV show. And I know that people like it and I know that it certainly has an audience. I went over to read for a film that I’m going to do after this… a Jack Black film called Gulliver’s Travels, which is a remake, and people liked Gavin & Stacey. I don’t think a lot of people have seen it, but it’s enough for ABC to be quite serious about trying to make an American version of the show.

Q. So Barrack Obama had more charisma than you?
James Corden: I love him! I almost get aroused when I’m watching him! Do you remember that speech where he said: “We are better than the last eight years!” Oh man… I just went straight to a mirror and had a w**k [laughs aloud].

Q. Is this a moment you may have cause to reget?
James Corden: Oh no. I’d write it on my tombstone [laughs].

Q. How is it working with one of your heroes in the form of Jack Black? Have you met him yet?
James Corden: Yeah, I went and read with him in America. It was one of the most exciting and terrifying moments of my life. Oh man, he was just everything that you want him to be. I can’t speak highly enough of what he was like in that audition. We just read and we got to improvise bits together. You know when you’re just trying to hold it down and pretend like it’s a really normal thing that you do in your life… being in a room with a movie star? I was like “yeah cool”, but inside I was going: “Oh my God!” And then when he started doing the Jack Black thing and pulling the faces… I thought it was great. So, that’s what I’m most excited about – getting to work with him.

Q. Is it true you’re a big Take That fan?
James Corden: I used to know the opening 35 minutes of Take That Live in Berlin… the whole routine! I would either be Gary or Robbie. But when I was Robbie, I wouldn’t do to the lead vocal; I’d just do Robbie’s bit.

Q. Have you got over that love of Take That?
James Corden: No! I love them! I absolutely love them. The greatest moment in my life was meeting Howard and Jason at the Brits and hearing them say how much they loved the show. I honestly felt like I couldn’t breathe. Still, to this day… do you remember last year there was the story about whether Robbie was going to rejoin the band? I was so worried because to this day, in the back of my head I still think they’re going to need me. At some point, they’re going to need me. Howard is going to hurt his leg, or Gary’s going to lose his voice, and they’re going to go: “We can’t cancel. Get Corden!” I’m coiled and ready… the whole thing. Even the Circus album – I’m up to date on that.

Q. The two of you obviously love working together but do you ever get jealous of each other. I mean Matt has Entertaining Mr Sloane in the West End, while you’re off to Hollywood to make a film with Jack Black… How long will you keep doing stuff together?
James Corden: We’d love to keep working together, and keep working independently. We’ve got no aspirations to be Cannon & Ball! Or before you know it we’re in the jungle. But speaking about Matt, I’ve never met a more supportive and loyal friend, certainly within this business. It’s never been like that at all. We have to have time apart, working with other people, otherwise it would become so stale. Who knows where it will all go? It might end in a month. We might get panned and it might die on its arse. But we’ve had a great time.

Read our review of Lesbian Vampire Killers

Read our interview with Mathew Horne