James Corden Was Almost in Every Movie, According to James Corden
James Corden is one of those celebrities that people on the internet simply love to hate. If you already can’t stand the British actor, comedian and late-night host because of how he verbally abuses waitstaff or allegedly plagiarizes other comedians’ jokes, you really wouldn’t care for Corden if he was cackling his way up Mount Doom with Mr. Frodo or stealing roles from Brendan Fraser.
Over the last couple of weeks, the much-maligned host of The Late Late Show has publicly pondered all of the possible roles he could have played throughout his nearly 30-year career as he revealed that he was called back twice for the role of Samwise Gamgee in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and was an early pick to play the lead role in Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, The Whale, a part that has produced serious Oscar buzz and revitalized the career of Fraser.
Imagine Corden in a 600-pound fat suit singing “Carpool Karaoke” in a handicapped accessible van. You almost didn’t need to.
Last week, Corden appeared on the Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz to promote his black comedy series, Mammals, in which the bombastic Brit plays the head chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant whose life begins to implode when he uncovers shocking secrets about his pregnant wife. Maybe Corden was method acting when he yelled at all those waiters.
On the podcast, Corden confirmed a rumor purporting that the caustic comedian was once a serious contender for the role in The Lord of the Rings that eventually went to the unequaled Sean Astin. Corden confirmed that he was called back twice to audition for the part of Sam, though he qualified his contention by saying that, at the time, “every single person in London” was auditioning for some character or other in the Tolkien tale.
Then, at another promotional event for Mammals, Corden revealed to Deadline that he had been slated to star in a film adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s award-winning play The Whale in an early attempt by Aronofsky to bring the story to the screen. The first iteration of The Whale was supposed to feature Corden in the role of Charlie (Fraser’s eventual character) with fashion and film magnate Tom Ford directing the project.
Corden admitted that considered himself to be too young to play Charlie — he also claimed that Hollywood megastar George Clooney was interested in the Ford project, though Clooney pulled out when he was told that it was impractical to cast an actual 600-pound man in the lead role.
Corden doesn’t harbor any resentment toward the actors that assumed his would-be roles, but the history of cinema would look drastically different if Corden had been cast in every part that he claims he was close to booking. Lord of the Rings fans have long wondered what the series would look like if Nicolas Cage had been cast as Aragorn, but imagine if Cage and Corden had both made it into The Fellowship — we’d all end up rooting for Sauron.