James Corden is putting his body on the line in his latest role, he tells Roz Laws.
Never let it be said that James Corden isn’t throwing himself into his latest theatre role.
He is clearly suffering for his art, as he lists the injuries he has picked up since joining the cast of One Man, Two Guvnors.
The hit National Theatre play, a hilarious retelling of the 18th century Goldoni farce The Servant of Two Masters which is now going on tour, sees Corden fall over a chair, beat himself around the head with a dustbin lid and set fire to props.
It’s hardly surprising that he’s hurt himself.
“I’ve had a scratched eyeball, a fractured thumb, I hurt my shoulder two nights ago and I’ve just had a scan on my bust knee,” confides the 33-year-old, fresh from performing the play for the 87th time.
“It revealed I have a chip on the front of my bone. It needs an operation but not urgently. I must try not to bash it, but that’s hard when the role is so full-on.
“I am bruised all over. It all hurts! I don’t remember the last time I didn’t go upstairs without going ‘ouch’. I feel I’m a bit young to be doing that.
“The play is an absolute joy to do but really hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
“Five minutes before the show starts it feels like I’m looking at a really steep hill I have to get up and over. But that’s why I do it, you need to be challenged.”
His injured knee means that Corden has had to postpone his plans to run 280 miles from Paris to London for Comic Relief.
He is clearly disappointed, but it’s not like he’s not busy enough at the National, and looking forward to his first-ever theatre tour of One Man, Two Guvnors which takes in Birmingham next month.
“This building is called the National Theatre, but it can feel like the Theatre of London,” he points out.
“Not everyone can come down to see it, so we’re trying to come to where you are.”
The National is where it all took off for Corden, in another play directed by Nicholas Hytner.
He’d had small roles before – as fat kids in a Tango ad and the Shane Meadows film Twenty Four Seven, and in the chorus of musical Martin Guerre in the West End – but it was The History Boys which shot him to fame in 2004.
Alan Bennett’s play featured Corden alongside Dominic Cooper, Russell Tovey and Andrew Knott as well as Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour.