When the adorable and talented James Corden, whose latest role as The Baker in Disney’s Into The Woods is sure to propel him to leading man status, walks into a room, you can’t help but swoon at his cherub-like cheeks and British accent. And then, the adorable, and equally British, Emily Blunt begins to pick a bit of food from his teeth and it becomes the most awesomely hysterical interview ever.
“Hi, Mums,” Corden says as he enters the conference room at the Montage in Beverly Hills. His smile is contagious, as is Blunt’s, whose demeanor is more like an old college friend than that of a Hollywood star. Blunt is best known for her roles as a relentless ball buster in both The Devil Wears Prada and Edge of Tomorrow, so it’s hard to believe that with her light personality, she can pull off those roles. She does, however, rather successfully.
“This is like a dream!” Corden says about the room full of ladies, giggling at his charm. “This is all I’ve ever dreamt of!” And that statement sets the mood for the rest of the interview.
∴ ∴ ∴ ∴ ∴
“You have a little thing in your teeth,” Blunt points out to Corden who, without missing a beat, responds “Oh, is it a bit of blackberry?”
“Yeah, like, the next one along it,” Blunt guides Corden, her motherly instincts bubbling to the surface, picking at Corden’s teeth. It’s adorable. They’re both so relaxed, just as old friends would be. Even the way they met was admittedly cliché, but an enjoyable story, nonetheless.
“This is it. This is our relationship,” Blunt says, laughing. “That’s part of working with each other. We knew each other, actually, I’ve known James for, like, eight, nine years almost? Um, we met at a polo match in England. The princes were there, guys-”
James: “Which was held by Harry and William.”
Emily: “Harry and William. We met the princes,” she says with purposeful exaggeration.
James: “Have you ever heard a more British…?”
Emily: “Yeah. And we were at a polo match.”
James: “We met there…”
Emily: “And we really got along and, and we had too much to drink, and we sang…”
James: “Something Stupid.”
Emily: “Something Stupid by Frank Sinatra. Like, he’s the only person I’ve ever sung in front of…”
James: “Yeah, we were getting on great.”
Emily: “And so it was nice. When I heard it was him- I remember Rob Marshall [Director of Into The Woods] telling me that I had the part – and I said, ‘Who’s the baker?’ And he went, ‘It’s James Corden.’ And I went, ‘Oh my god!’ I was so relieved and so thrilled because I knew that this couple needed to have real lifelong, shorthand chemistry, ease with each other and you needed to believe in them. You needed to believe that they’ve been together forever. They were probably the only- that was the option they had in the village that they grew up in, and… these are small-town folk.”
James: “There’s always options. Okay? There’s never not options if you’re rocking this,” he said as he slowly waves his hand over and down his body, much like a showcase model at a boat show.
Emily: “This is the thing; this is the thing that he’s going on, that he said the whole time. This is a fairytale movie. A lot of, like, fantasy stuff happens, and the audience goes with it. The only thing that this audience won’t understand is why she’d leave this [pointing at James] for Chris Pine.”
James: “No one, no one would believe that – you know what I mean?”
We’re all laughing, hysterically, at this point, taking in James’ charm, which is both confident and self-deprecating.
Emily: “He was like – he said to Rob, ‘They’re not gonna go with you on this, Rob.’”
James: “This is- people will be just like, ‘Oh, come on. No woman on earth leaves Brad Pitt for, you know…’ It was, who’s someone… I don’t know. I’m trying to think of someone without being offensive.“
∴ ∴ ∴ ∴ ∴
Q: So tell us about your pregnancy while you were shooting, especially since you were around seven months pregnant.
Emily: “Well, it’s funny because I, you know, found out I was having a baby when I found out I was- I had the part, but I was thinking well, she’s the baker’s wife, so it doesn’t matter if I gain a few pounds.
And also it’s, you know, it’s the singing, and it’s lovely, and it’s easy- I forgot how much running around this woman does in the woods. Like, I like body slam into Anna Kendrick like a linebacker, and she’s a tiny person. I almost killed her! And you know, yanking Rapunzel’s hair out- she’s always running; we’re always rushing. And so it was, it was interesting.
There was a chair on set that was written on it, ‘Emily Blunt’s Pregnancy’. I often found Chris Pine sitting in it. I’m like, stood over him, several months pregnant, and he went, ‘Oh, do you wanna sit down?’ and I’m like, ‘yes, I do.’“
∴ ∴ ∴ ∴ ∴
Q: So much of the film is about parenting methods and what results, so did this influence how you guys parent or what not to do?
Emily: “It’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of that, actually.”
James: “I think there’s an honesty in the film which has made me want to be more honest with my children from the get-go. I think what the message in the film – the great message in the film – ‘be careful what wish for’, and sometimes the very thing you wish for is not the thing that you need, in a world where we seem to have told children that this happily ever after does exist, and we all know it doesn’t. And I feel like- that’s not to say you won’t be happy – but like that song, No One is Alone at the end of the film, I sort of feel like what that song is saying is, it’s two adults talking to two children saying, ‘there’s some screw-ups coming your way’, and that’s true of all of us. There’s screw-ups, and they’re coming for you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. But when they do, you might feel like you’re completely on your own in the world. You will feel like you are completely alone, and you’re not. And you never will be. And these things are just part of your life and what ultimately make you better and stronger. And it has made me think that that’s a positive message to tell your children, that mistakes are gonna happen.”
Emily: “And also, you said that children – like, no one is more perception than a child.”
Emily: “They see everything, they’re like little sponges, they pick up – even babies, I’ve noticed – they pick up on your energy, they pick up on, like, if someone walks in the house that Hazel [Emily’s daughter with actor John Krasinski] hasn’t met before, and they’ve had a bad day, she- she doesn’t want to go to them. She doesn’t want to be around them, you know. And so even at- from a young age, they’re so perceptive. And, and I just feel that it’s important to teach your children that life is not always going to be easy, you know, and that is what this film is about.
Nobody goes through life unscathed. Nobody does. And actually, these fairy tales – the original fairy tales – really were sort of, obviously children can’t understand the deep metaphorical meanings in these fairy tales, but they understand right and wrong, and they understand the need to make decisions, and they understand what happens when people behave badly, they get a comeuppance. You know, it’s that sort of thing that these fairy tales, I think, were created to teach children about life, to warn them about life. And we’re sort of in a society where we like to coddle our children and over-tend, over-parent, over-this- there’s like ten thousand books on how to raise a kid nowadays, and it’s purely instinctual. It’s purely personal, you know, and I saw this thing that there are books- ‘How to Raise a Gluten-Free Baby’. How to Raise..”
James chimes in, once again quick with the wit, “In my defense, when I wrote that… I don’t even know what gluten is. I just know…”
Emily: “His wife sent me to this fantastic holistic baby doctor in London when I was there, who gave me massages, and meditation tapes and stuff like that, and she told me not to eat gluten. It’s your wife’s fault that got me on that.”
It’s such an endearing moment of back and forth banter that you’d only see with friends who’ve known each other for a long time. It’s also a moment that I forget we’re interviewing talented celebrities because their banter is so genuine.
∴ ∴ ∴ ∴ ∴
Q : You both worked with the kids more often than the other actors in the film. Can you tell us about that experience?
James: “Well, they’re both incredible – incredibly talented and gifted, and unbelievably composed and assured. It’s one thing being brilliant in the film; it’s another thing just being brilliant to be around all day, and they are.”
Emily: “I mean, Lilla Crawford [who plays Little Red Riding Hood in Into The Woods] was doing eight shows a week playing Annie on Broadway. Like, this is a girl who knows how to punch in and go to work, and show up, and be professional, and when she opens her mouth, she has a voice like a trumpet.”
James: “Oh my god!”
Emily: “I mean, it was just insane what she was able to do, and she was so capable, you know. And Daniel [who plays Jack of Jack And The Beanstalk] was completely unflappable, like, the coolest kid.”
James: “The first day shooting was the Giants in the Sky song, which is my favorite song in the show anyway, and I absolutely remember watching him run around this tree looking at him… and thinking, oh my god, this is- I’m watching a thousand Facebook profiles start to happen from girls who are just gonna be in love with you.
He is- he’s got that thing which is unquantifiable that you can’t- you don’t know what it is, but it’s just there. And he’s so gifted, musically. He would sit down at a piano, and he’ll playing these ukulele- he’s, he’s the real deal. He really, really is.”
Emily: “And he has the best hair ever. He kinda likes older women, he told us.”
One of us chimes in, confirming a rumor that circulated about Daniel Huttlestone was flirting with many of the ladies on the set, including the lovely Emily Blunt.
Emily: “Oh, no, he was, yes. By the way, I was, as well. Like, I loved him.”
James: “There’s no way that doesn’t look weird in… Right now, in this room, we’re all having a great time. That looks weird.”
Emily: “But he would, he would come up to Meryl and go – and she’d be there with her cape – and he’d go, ‘Aye, Meryl’. And she’d go, ‘Yeah?’ And he’d go like this [KISS], and she’d take her cape and be, like, “Ahhhh!”; we all thought he was the coolest thing ever. He was very upset to learn that I was pregnant.
James: “Again, again, sounds weird.”
Emily: “He was the only person who was upset about it.”
James: “Wow. This is really gonna open some doors for you.”
Emily: “It certainly is. I’ll never be allowed to speak to mommy bloggers ever again.”
I guarantee you, Miss Blunt, there wasn’t a single person in that room that wouldn’t die to relive that interview, nor would we ever turn down another – no matter how weird it sounds.
∴ ∴ ∴ ∴ ∴
Q: James, one of the things we were discussing today is that you’re such a discovery for all of us, and we’re just really pleased about your character and fell in love with you. So you’re likely emerge as this undiscovered, leading man, especially once you take over hosting duties on the Late, Late Show. What happens once you take all of this on?
James: [Laughing] “Let’s, let’s not get carried away. Um, you know, I’ll fare. It’s an amazing sort of time for me. I’m very intent on trying to enjoy it while it’s here – whatever it is- it comes or doesn’t. Like, I’m so aware that these are transient things that will go as quickly as they arrive, in so many ways. And so I just want to really enjoy it and, and lots of people have said to me – and I get it, like, when I decided to take on The Late Late Show – lots of people, their first reaction- and my reaction, in a sense – was an amount of reticence of people saying ‘You won’t be able to do this, and there’s a film coming, and what if,…’ you know?
But after talking it through with my wife, the truth is that in this job, you can’t- there [is] no guarantee of anything, and you really have to go wherever the work is. And there was a point in the summer, just after I got offered, and I was unsure what to do. Where I was shooting in Johannesburg for, like, six weeks, Skyping my son on my birthday. And I thought, this is only gonna get harder.”
Actually, here is someone offering me a job where I get to be creative every day, I get to have fun every day and talk to America before – or more likely, while – they’re falling asleep and at the end of every day, I get to go home and be a present father and husband. And I just don’t think there’s ever a child, when they’re twenty or thirty, sitting in a therapist’s chair going, ‘Do you know, my dad was just around too much. He, he gave me too many cuddles, and he was too much a part of my life.’ And ultimately, it was like, this is a privilege, actually, to be in this job, in this industry – because you don’t have the choice. You’ve gotta go; you’ve gotta go. That was the thing that tipped it over, really, is just to be around, and I feel very lucky to have such an opportunity.”
Emily: “You’re gonna make me cry.”
James: “Stop it. Stop it, flirt.”
For more Into The Woods fun…
- Check out my interview with legends Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Tracey Ullman!
- Play along with our Six Degrees Of Separation: Into The Woods style!
- See what we think of Into The Woods in our review of the new Disney film, in theaters now!
Photos courtesy of Mom Start and Disney