James Corden reveals ‘terrifying’ flight with Top Gun legend Tom Cruise

Late Late Show TV star James Corden flies in a vintage plane and jet fighter with tom gun actor Tom Cruise, but admits he was so scared he tried to make excuses to save him to film stunts

James Corden in the cockpit of a fighter jet with
James Corden in the cockpit of a fighter jet with “Wingman” Tom Cruise during filming in California

Top Gun’s Tom Cruise may still feel the need… the need for speed – but it’s not a desire shared by his future passenger James Corden.

In fact, The Late Late Show host tried at the last minute to pull himself out of the flight with Cruise, 59, at the controls.

The daredevil Superstar loves to do his own stunts in the Mission Impossible movies and this year’s hit Top Gun: Maverick.

But Gavin and Stacey star Corden, 43, admits he was petrified at the thought of being Cruise’s wingman in a vintage plane and jet fighter high above the California desert.

Corden said, “It was a really tense time shooting and all of a sudden there was the prospect of being on a plane with Tom Cruise.

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Top Gun star Tom Cruise gives James Corden a pep talk before they take to the skies over California


CBS via Getty Images)

“Things can go wrong and when they do we’re both dead; that was terrifying.”

He also had an overwhelming feeling that disaster would haunt his family.

“For the rest of my kids’ lives, they would be somewhere and someone would point and go, ‘Do you know who that is? ‘Your father killed Tom Cruise’.”

Corden wrote an email expressing his fear of being taken in a vintage propeller plane by one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Tom Cruise and James Corden stroll the runway as they reenact Top Gun scenes


CBS via Getty Images)

He said: “Tom wanted to do the Death Dive and barrel rolls and all those things – and I was like I was freaking out just because of that.”

It took a personal phone call from Cruise to calm the nervous James and convince him to continue with the stunt.

Corden, who got a pretty good impression of Cruise, said the star told him, “I promise I would never do anything to put you in any danger. James, listen to me, I give you my word.

“Then you’re sure I just got Mavericked or Ethan Hunted or Jerry Maguired.”

Tom Cruise and James Corden with their arms around each other outside an airplane hangar in LA


CBS via Getty Images)

The pair flew over the California desert in a vintage fighter jet, where Cruise showed off some of his tricks. They then boarded a fighter jet and Cruise, who earned his pilot’s license in 1994, made a move worthy of his Top Gun character, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, and flipped the plane upside down.

Thankfully, there wasn’t a moment that imitated life, and Corden didn’t share the fate of Maverick’s top-gun flying partner, Goose.

And when they touched down, Corden hadn’t lost that affectionate feeling for his action superstar sidekick.

Hollywood star Tom Cruise gives James Corden some top gun flying tips


CBS via Getty Images)

He said: “It was incredible. I love him, I absolutely adore him. Every time he’s been on the show, he’s asserted himself in the most extraordinary way.”

Corden is back in the UK this week for a special series of The Late Late Show, broadcast from Freemasons’ Hall in London’s West End.

Guests include actors Vin Diesel, Jamie Dornan, John Boyega, David Harbor and Tessa Thompson, and music stars Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, Alanis Morissette and Sam Smith.

James Corden with Adele during the Carpool Karaoke slot on The Late Late Show


CBS via Getty Images)

An interview with US President Joe Biden, filmed in the Oval Office, will be broadcast as part of the specials.

In April, Corden shocked fans by announcing that he would be leaving the show in 2023 after eight and a half years as host. It has been reported that he, his wife Julia and their three children are planning to return to the UK.

He said: “I’ve always seen it more as an adventure than an ultimate goal.

Pop star Justin Bieber joins James Corden for Carpool Karaoke on The Late Late Show

“I never took it upon myself to think, ‘Wow, that’s it, I’ve got one of those seats at one of those desks and I’m going to be here forever.’

“I see myself first and foremost as a performer. I had a career before I took this show. I’m very proud of the show.

“I felt that some of the things we did were extraordinary and I never wanted to be a show that outlived its reception.

“I wanted it to be a show that always punched above its weight.”

TV star James Corden takes boy band One Direction for a carpool karaoke singalong



Corden, who has won a BAFTA for Gavin and Stacey and a Tony Award for the play One Man, Two Guvnors, is excited to try new things.

He said, “I just felt like it’s probably the right time to jump in and see if there are other things out there.”

Airing in 155 countries, the Late Late Show is known for its Carpool Karaoke segment, which features world-famous stars like Adele and Madonna singing while being driven in a car by Corden.*

Adele’s performance received 236 million views on YouTube, One Direction 177 million, Justin Bieber 155 million while he claims Lady Gaga told him her performance on Carpool resulted in a number one album.

After a six-week hiatus this summer, Corden and the team at The Late Late are planning a stunning finale.

He added, “The only thing I plan to do is walk out the way we came in with an almighty bang.”

At least after his breezy excitement with Cruise, he can do that with both feet on the ground.

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