James Corden is, indeed, a party animal; or at least, that's what his filmography would suggest. With a wealth of animal-centric roles in films like Cats, the upcoming Cinderella adaptation starring Camilla Cabello and, of course, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, the actor seems to be ready to get back to being a human on the big screen. But there’s one exception that Corden has wedged firmly in his heart, as he’d love to return to the role of The Mouse in the world of author Julia Donaldson’s iconic book The Gruffalo.
As part of our conversation during the press day for Peter Rabbit 2, it felt like a good time to bring up the fact that James Corden’s filmography had quite a few animal acts as of late. 2021 is especially notable, as Corden is not only the lead in this rabbit-focused children’s franchise, but in the Cinderella adaptation that’s due out later this summer, he’ll be playing a mouse-turned-footman. I was curious about whether there were any animals that he was interested in tackling next, but as he revealed to me below, there’s only one that has James Corden’s heart at the moment:
I feel like my animal roles might be done now. I feel like it would be nice to just be a human for a minute. I wouldn’t mind doing something sort of outer space, some kind of alien, some kind of thing. I guess my favorite, you may not have seen this … a brilliant book by Julia Donaldson called The Gruffalo. And they made a beautiful 30 minute short film, it actually got nominated for a BAFTA or an Oscar, I can’t remember. But it’s beautiful, and I got to be the mouse in The Gruffalo, and that book meant a huge amount to me. So I’d love to go back and visit that character again.
Throughout Julia Donaldson’s two stories, The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo Child, the role of the Mouse is that of a trickster who somehow find himself avoiding danger. Creating what he thinks is a creature of pure fabrication, known as “The Gruffalo,” he eventually finds such a beast exists. In two different tales that see Gruffalo and Mouse crossing paths, James Corden’s vocal talents brought that character to life in the Oscar-nominated animated short, as well as its sequel, among a cast that also included Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson and the late John Hurt.
While both Mouse and Peter Rabbit are able to talk their way out of trouble, the big difference is that in Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway, our rabbit protagonist is pretty sure of himself. Even when danger is near, and those that would see him vanquished have the upper hand, he’s eventually confident he’ll make his way back to safety. Meanwhile, Mouse in The Gruffalo always seems to make it up as he goes along, which leads to the sorts of scenarios like the ones depicted in the clips below.
Should James Corden be able to return to the world of The Gruffalo, it will probably have to be through either a new story/short written for the occasion, if not a full on cinematic adaptation. It sounds like either possibility would be attractive to the late night host/actor, as Julia Donaldson’s children’s classic has more than earned a soft spot in Mr. Corden’s heart. But if you were looking forward to more animal antics from his corner of the entertainment universe, you might want to limit your expectations.
The fun hasn’t ended just yet though, as Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway is currently in theaters for all to enjoy. And as promised earlier, James Corden will play another mouse, only one that’s transformed into a footman, in Cinderella, which is set to hit Prime Video this September. After that point, you’d better have a Gruffalo or an alien involved if you want him to play a creature of any other sort.