In writer-director John Carney's feel-good movie, Corden plays Steve, a warm-hearted street musician whose best friend Gretta, a singer-songwriter played by Keira Knightley, is unceremoniously dumped by her newly successful, recording-artist beau Dave, played by Adam Levine. With the help of Dan, a down-on-his-luck, record-label executive played by Mark Ruffalo, and a rag-tag bunch of struggling musicians, Gretta and Steve record an album in public locations throughout the city.
"I was in a play at the time on Broadway, so I would shoot in the afternoon and then get in a car and be whisked across town and do the play and then, quite often, go back after the play and shoot quite a lot of the montage stuff," Corden told UPI at a Begin Again press conference in Manhattan Thursday. "And there was a great time when we were on the subway, shooting this, like, montage thing. We didn't have any lines. We were just doing the music and Mark said: 'Man, you must be exhausted from just doing the play. You must really need a drink.' And he was holding this Starbucks cup and I said, 'Yeah, I could really use one.' And he just passed me this Starbucks cup and it was a vodka tonic. And he said to his assistant, 'Can we get James a coffee, please?' And I really thought: 'Well, this is the greatest moment of my life. I'm drinking booze with Mark Ruffalo, watching [Carney] film on a subway.'"
"A little anecdote to that. The first [assistant director] comes up to me on the film set and says, 'By the way, you should know Mark and James are both drinking alcohol,'" Carney added.
Co-starring Hailee Steinfeld, Yasiin Bey, CeeLo Green and Catherine Keener, Begin Again is to open in limited release Friday.