James Corden Almost Annihilated This Year’s Best Movie

At one point, James Corden was apparently up for the lead role of The Whale.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

james corden the whale

If, like a growing number of people, you consider the fact that the host of The Late Late Show continues to be hired for any kind of screen work to be frustrating and confusing, then one of the most recent stories to surface about what could have been will utterly horrify you. Apparently, before either director Darren Aronofsky or Brendan Fraser were attached to the project, James Corden was set to play Charlie — the lead of The Whale.

In a recent interview to promote his Amazon Prime original series Mammals, James Corden told Deadline that he was originally set to play Charlie in The Whale, with Tom Ford (Quantum of Solace) directing. Ford left the project, according to Corden, because he wanted more control over the film. The Into the Woods star also said that George Clooney briefly got involved, but he reportedly was only willing to direct if an actor was chosen who actually — like the lead character — weighed 600 pounds.

Deadline reports that when asked about James Corden’s claims about The Whale, Darren Aronofsky confirmed everything. We can only be thankful that events unfolded in such a way that the same man who shook his groin at passing motorists during a traffic-stopping flashmob to promote Cinderella didn’t manage to get in the way of what’s shaping up to be Brendan Fraser’s career-defining role. While at this point Corden has so thoroughly alienated fans that the announcement that Wicked would be adapted to the big screen prompted a pre-emptive Change.org petition to keep him out of the film, apparently no such action was needed to kill his involvement in Aronofsky’s film.

brendan fraser
Brendan Fraser saving us all from James Corden in The Whale (2022)

James Corden’s involvement in The Whale isn’t the only example of the host coming far too close to a beloved role. It was recently revealed that Corden auditioned for the part of Samwise Gamgee — which ultimately went to Sean Astin — in the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings and actually got a couple of callbacks before being dismissed. We don’t know how the story would’ve needed to be changed to explain the Fellowship getting so annoyed with Samwise that they’d leave him to the mercy of the Orcs, but thankfully Corden wasn’t cast and we never need to find out.

With James Corden making way for Brendan Fraser in The Whale, the star is expected to be one of the major contenders for this year’s Best Actor Oscar. The film has already received plenty of award attention, including Fraser being nominated for Best Actor by the Golden Globes. Whether or not he wins, however, Fraser is refusing to attend the ceremony because it’s run by Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the same organization whose former president Fraser says sexually assaulted him.