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James Corden dubs acting 'an elitist sport' in swipe at public school stars

Published 02/08/2016

James Corden presents The Late Late Show
James Corden presents The Late Late Show

TV star James Corden has complained that acting is becoming an "elitist sport" and that he is subjected to a tougher time than the likes of Tom Hiddleston and Eddie Redmayne because of his class.

The former Gavin And Stacey actor, 37, has become a huge name in the US thanks to his successful chat show and its Carpool Karaoke segment, which has notched up over a billion views online around the world.

But he said that upper class actors like Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch were not subjected to the same scrutiny in Britain because of their well-heeled backgrounds.

Corden told GQ magazine: "I've come to the conclusion that it is about class. Look at my career. I was in a really good play at the National Theatre, The History Boys, which then moved to Broadway and won six Tony awards.

"We came back. I wrote a sitcom (Gavin And Stacey) that did really, really well. I did a couple of films, got a play in New York, One Man, Two Guvnors, and subsequently won every best actor award going."

The Late Late Show host added: "I mean, that's quite a lot of good stuff!"

He told the magazine: "Douglas Booth has got a great career, he's a brilliant actor, but he's never going to encounter the sort of shit like I've had. Nor will Tom Hiddleston. Nor Eddie Redmayne. Nor Benedict Cumberbatch.

"I fear acting is becoming an elitist sport and I worry about where that lands us culturally. I really do."

Corden said that there was an "expectation of failure" in Britain when he launched his show in the US and added: "If we'd made this show for ITV to air at eight o'clock on Saturday night people would have destroyed it."

Old Etonians such as Dominic West and Damian Lewis have shot to the top of the acting world, with the likes of Hiddleston and Redmayne also enjoying success.

Call The Midwife star Stephen McGann and veteran actress Julie Walters have previously complained about the dearth of young actors from poorer backgrounds.

"The way things are now, there aren't going to be any working class actors," Walters said. ''I look at almost all the up-and-coming names and they're from the posh schools."

Sherlock star Cumberbatch raised eyebrows when he said that he was considering moving to the US because he was fed up with being "castigated" for his public school background.

Corden, who has shed 70lb in weight while living in LA, now eats "a bit of kale" and does a dance class three times a week, also told how rapper Kanye West apologised after pulling out of Carpool Karaoke - by sending him three dozen white roses, arranged in the shape of a cube.

"He'll do it eventually. He wants to do it," he said.

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