His latest movie One Chance has Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein tipping him for an Oscar, and last month he was on The Graham Norton Show with Katy Perry and Sir Paul McCartney, but comedian James Corden still can’t believe his own success.
In the film, the 35-year-old stars as Paul Potts, a Welsh opera singer who went from managing a mobile phone store to winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2007.
And the English actor is quite similar to his character. While Paul’s insecurities saw his singing talents languish, James’ self-deprecating nature means he refuses to believe the hype surrounding him.
“I’m not going to get [an Oscar], none of that stuff people are saying is right,” he tells the Weekly.
Nor can the self-proclaimed “chunky unit” understand how he became good friends with soccer star David Beckham.
“If I could go back and have a conversation with my 12-year-old self and tell him all the things that have happened, his head would explode,” James says.
“I can understand why people think it’s unlikely we’re friends, but I like him – plus he’s so beautiful,” he adds with a laugh.
When he’s not walking red carpets or looking after two-year-old son Max, James likes to watch The Great British Bake Off with his wife, TV producer Julia Carey.
“We’ll often talk about it and say things like, ‘Ruby’s Portuguese custard tarts weren’t up to scratch.’ I’m a sucker for bread or anything baked.
“If I could stop eating it, I’d probably lose half my weight – I feel like I’m 75% bread.”
He wooed Julia on their first date by making her the “best steak and chips she had ever eaten”. James, who loved food as a child, learned to be funny to deflect attention from his weight.
He famously feuded with Sir Patrick Stewart in 2010, when the screen legend made a comment about his belly on stage at the Glamour Awards.
Journalists also began, “writing his career obituaries” after his movie Lesbian Vampire Killers flopped. But just like Paul, who received criticism from opera legend Luciano Pavarotti, the Bafta award-winner says he is a better man for failure.
“Who is to say if that hadn’t happened to Paul, then he might not have achieved what he had, so I don’t look upon criticism as a terrible thing.”
Currently filming Into the Woods with Johnny Depp and Meryl Streep, James’ career has taken off. However, that meant he wasn’t able to return to New Zealand – one of his favourite places – earlier this year, to star in the play One Man,Two Guvnors.
“I thought it was incredible,” says James, who has performed at Wellington’s St James Theatre.
“I went to Kaikoura. New Zealand is such a lovely place. The people are so warm and friendly. I’d love to go back.”
Photos: David Levene / Eyevine / Austral, instagram