James Corden revealed that it took several attempts and a lot of persuading to prevent Paul McCartney from backing out of their Carpool Karaoke feature from 2018.
Corden said that he and his production team had fought hard to keep McCartney from changing his mind. It even reached a stage where Corden personally emailed the singer, calling his behaviour “unacceptable”.
McCartney kept changing his mind
Corden had invited the singer to shoot the show in Liverpool, after it had taken residency in London for a week, which McCartney accepted.
However, Corden said that a month later, he was told that McCartney had cancelled, before later changing his mind.
The TV host said, “About a month later the message came through to us that he’d canceled, he didn’t want to do it; he’d got cold feet for some reason. Then he was back in again two weeks later”.
Then came an email
James Corden then added he received an email saying the Paul McCartney had changed his mind again.
“About eight or nine days before we were due to fly to Liverpool to do it, there was an email saying, ‘Look, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to write this. Paul has changed his mind. He just feels this is the wrong sort of thing for him right now. He’d still like to do it one day”.
Without communicating with his team, Corden emailed McCartney personally.
In the email, Corden wrote “I completely respect your decision not to do it. But I need you to understand what the knock-on effect is for our show’”. He called McCartney’s behaviour “unacceptable”.
The “knock-on” effect that Corden was referring to was the people, time and money that was already invested in the making of this segment.
“Reason that it will be great is that you are Paul McCartney”
James Corden assured McCartney that the show would be a success. He wrote in his email to McCartney, “I guarantee you, I promise you, that it will be great. And the reason it will be great is that you are Paul McCartney”.
Paul McCartney responded by saying, “‘Alright. I’m sorry. I just had a wobble. I’m back in; I’ll do it”.
However, on the morning of the shoot, there was a third “wobble”. McCartney told Corden, “I don’t want to be doing this. I’m a Beatle!”.
Corden added, “He told me in this hotel room, ‘I don’t want to go into my childhood house. I haven’t been there since I left. I feel uncomfortable with it.’ I just went, ‘Paul, your only day’s work today is to have a great time and if you have a great time this is going to work”.
All worked out in the end
The segment went ahead and was a great success. It was even credited with helping McCartney to achieve his first US Number 1 album when Egypt Station topped the charts.
Corden said he even received a kind message from McCartney himself.
“I got a text saying, ‘We did it – thank you for convincing me for doing it!’”
Adding, “I never expected it to be as moving as it was… singing ‘Penny Lane,’ driving down Penny Lane with Paul McCartney”.