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James Corden: The Voice of Peter Rabbit

Feb 05, 2018

By: Lynn Barker

In Peter Rabbit, a CGI- animated comedy film based on the famous Beatrix Potter characters, Peter (voice of James Corden) and family live happily in their garden until a new tenant will do anything to keep them out. Can they chase him away? Will he charm the animal-loving woman next door and get her on his side?

Peter can get cockyPeter can get cockyCourtesy of Sony Pictures

You might know hilarious James from his hosting duties on TV’s “Late, Late” show where he performs carpool karaoke with such great musical guests as Miley Cyrus, P!nk, Adele, Justin Timberlake, Harry Styles, Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Sia, Jennifer Hudson and many more. James sang on Broadway and played a major part in the Into the Woods movie a few years ago.

Corden sat down for questions about his character Peter, the rabbit with a great blue coat….and no pants!

Q: Tell us about the story of the movie.

  • James: The Peter Rabbit movie is a story about an adorable but slightly mischievous rabbit named Peter and he and his family have been through quite a lot. It’s him and his sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail (voiced by hot actresses Margot Robbie, Elizabeth Debicki and Star WarsDaisy Ridley) and his cousin Benjamin. Peter is very much the leader of this family and they feel under attack because of a new person who comes into a garden which is their primary source of food. They have to fight back against this with hilarious yet dangerous consequences.

Peter with sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and CottontailPeter with sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and CottontailCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Q: What is great about Peter and the message of the movie?

  • James: I think my favorite quality about Peter is that he has an unrelenting sense of self-confidence. It really takes him a long time to realize he may have messed up. I guess his best quality is when he does mess up, or make a mistake, he rectifies it the best way possible. I think that’s the best message for the film.
  • Everyone is going to make mistakes all the time. What’s important is how you deal with those mistakes and who you are in those mistakes and that you learn from them and try not to make them again. It takes Peter a long time to figure that out but once he does, it’s wonderful.

Peter and family with friendly neighbor Bea (Rose Byrne)Peter and family with friendly neighbor Bea (Rose Byrne)Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Q: Do you personally identify with Peter?

  • James: I think there’s an element of Peter in all of us; certainly when we’re growing up. We have a mischievous quality to think “Why not?” rather than “Why?”. So, he’s probably the character I associate with most.

Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) pretends to be friends with PeterMr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) pretends to be friends with PeterCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Q: How was recording Peter’s voice for you?

  • James: It was an amazing process laying the voice for this animation because I think I may have voiced the entire movie ten or eleven times and throughout that time it was constantly evolving. The characters were evolving and the animation was evolving. Now it’s done and I think what the animators have done with these characters, their fur and the way they move and talk is really quite amazing to see.

James Corden at Peter Rabbit Press DayJames Corden at Peter Rabbit Press DayCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Q: Do you have some favorite lines or moments in the film?

  • James: I think it’s where Peter looks down the lens (into the audience) and says he doesn’t want to receive any letters or complaints from people at home. I think that’s an amazing moment for the moms and dads who are watching. I’m a parent myself and any time a film can be for your kids and gives a wink to a mom and dad who may be watching, is a really great moment and I really like it.  Another line I love is when he says “We don’t own the Earth. We inherit it for future generations.” I’ve got that on a plastic cup.

Peter (right) and cousin Benjamin are shocked by new tenantPeter (right) and cousin Benjamin are shocked by new tenantCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Q: Did you have to channel an inner rabbit for the role?

  • James: (laughs). I don’t think it was about channeling a rabbit. We talked about how do we honor this beloved character from the beautiful Beatrix Potter books in a film? We wanted to reintroduce this character to young people who would hopefully leave the theater and go discover these incredible books. I would just show up in my PJs and record the voice.

Peter and family make a planPeter and family make a planCourtesy of Sony Pictures

Q: Were you able to go off script when doing the voice and ad-lib?

  • James: It was more Will (Gluck, the Director) and I trying stuff. “Is this right?” Then we’d watch it and go “No. That’s not quite right.” You never felt that you were tied into what had already been animated.

James Corden (right) with Will Gluck (Director/Writer/Producer)James Corden (right) with Will Gluck (Director/Writer/Producer)Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Q: You have your TV show but will you be doing a movie soon?

  • James: I have this tiny little part in the Oceans 8 movie. I’m glad to be doing the TV show so I can be near my family.

Peter Rabbit Movie PosterPeter Rabbit Movie PosterCourtesy of Sony Pictures

See Peter Rabbit in theaters Friday February 9th

Have Your Say

Are you familiar with the “Peter Rabbit” books from when you were younger? Have you seen the movie trailers? Have you seen James Corden doing carpool karaoke? Looking forward to seeing the film? Leave a comment below!