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

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

The daredevil superstar loves doing his own stunts in the Mission Impossible films and in this year’s smash-hit sequel Top Gun: Maverick.

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

Corden said: “It was a really tense time filming and suddenly there was the prospect of being in an aeroplane 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

“Things can go wrong and if they do we are both dead; that was terrifying.”

He also had the overwhelming feeling that if there was a disaster it would haunt his family.

“For the rest of my children’s lives they’d be somewhere and someone would point and go: ‘You know who that is? ‘Their dad killed Tom Cruise’.”

Corden wrote an email expressing his fear at being taken aloft in an old single propeller plane by one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

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

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

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He said: “Tom wanted to do the death dive and barrel rolls and all these things – and I was like I am just freaking out about it.”

It took a personal phone call from Cruise to put jittery James’ mind at rest and persuade him to go ahead with the stunt.

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

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

Tom Cruise and James Corden with arms around each other in front of a plane hangar in LA

Tom Cruise and James Corden with arms around each other in front of a plane hangar in LA

The pair went up in a vintage fighter plane over the Californian desert where Cruise showed a few of his tricks. Then they took to a fighter jet and Cruise, who got his pilot licence in 1994, pulled a move worthy of his Top Gun character Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and flipped the plane upside down.

Fortunately there was no life imitating art moment and Corden didn’t share the fate of Maverick’s Top Gun flying partner, Goose.

And when they touched down Corden had not lost that loving feeling for his action ­superstar pal.

Hollywood star Tom Cruise gives James Corden some Top Gun flying tips

Hollywood star Tom Cruise gives James Corden some Top Gun flying tips

He said: “It was amazing. I love him, I ­absolutely adore him. Every time he has been on the show he has come through in the most extraordinary ways.”

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This week Corden is back in the UK for a special run of The Late Late Show being aired from Freemasons’ Hall in London’s West End.

His line-up of guests includes actors Vin Diesel, Jamie Dornan, John Boyega, David Harbour and Tessa Thompson and music stars Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, Alanis Morissette and Sam Smith.

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

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

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

In April, Corden shocked fans by announcing he will be leaving the show in 2023 after eight-and-a-half years as host. It has been reported he, wife Julia and their three children plan to move back to Britain.

He said: “I always saw it as an adventure rather than a final destination.

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

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

“I never took it thinking, ‘Wow, that’s it I’ve got one of these seats at one of these desks and I’ll be here forever’.

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

“I felt like some of the things we’ve done have been extraordinary and never wanted to be a show that outstayed its welcome.

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

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TV star James Corden gives boyband One Direction a lift for a Carpool Karaoke singalong

TV star James Corden gives boyband One Direction a lift for a Carpool Karaoke singalong

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

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

The Late Late Show is screened in 155 countries and is renowned for its segment Carpool Karaoke during which world-famous stars, such as Adele and Madonna, sing while being driven in a car by Corden.*

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

After a six-week break this summer Corden and The Late Late team plan to make a ­mind-blowing finale.

He added: “The only thing I am intent on doing is to go out in the manner we came in, with an ­almighty bang.”

At least after his aerial excitement with Cruise this is something he can do with both feet on the ground.

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