The event served as a warm-up for Corden’s project, “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” which debuts March 23 on CBS. Corden moderated “The Good Wife” panel discussion with husband and wife co-creators and executive producers Michelle and Robert King, and the show’s actors, Matt Czuchry (who plays Cary Agos), Christine Baranski (Diane Lockhart) and Julianna Margulies (Alicia Florrick) — all of whom he lovingly embraced.
The evening kicked off with a sneak peek screening of the show’s upcoming episode “Mind’s Eye,” which officially airs March 8. About 90% of the episode takes place inside Florrick’s mind as she preps for an important interview that could potentially make or break her chances of being elected state’s attorney. Robert King explained the importance of the episode in the show’s greater narrative.
“Each season we try to do a show somewhat in the middle of the year that recalibrates, sums up, has almost all the cast in it, and kind of resets (things) for the second half of the year,” he explained before the screening.
In one steamy sequence, Florrick talks on the phone with her campaign manager, Johnny (Steven Pasquale), about strategy for answering a tough question. Viewers hear their conversation as if it’s played over the phone, but are shown her mind’s fantasy, in which the two are tangled up in bed.
During the panel, Corden joked with the co-creators about how they handle sex in the show. Michelle King spoke about the show’s tendency to push the envelope and take on controversial subjects, noting that CBS never pushed back on an idea.
“They allow us to talk about all the things you’re never supposed to talk about at a dinner party,” she said.
Things like sex, for example — and Margulies joked about one episode that involved Shibari, an artistic form of Japanese rope bondage.
“I don’t know how many of you knew about Shibari, but I had to look it up,” she said. “I mean, who knows about Shibari?”
The cast and creators were funny, classy and poised throughout the evening, but Corden proved to be the highlight. The 36-year-old, soon-to-be latenight talk show host was a dazzling moderator, inserting quip after quip that caused the crowd to erupt with laughter.
Early on in the panel, Corden brought up the show’s shocking season-five episode that killed off the character Will Gardner, played by Josh Charles.
Corden asked bluntly, “We have to talk about Josh Charles… What the f–k?”
“Do Matt and Julianna know what they’re in for?” Baranski pondered on the carpet before the panel with a laugh that insinuated she was bracing herself for anything. The actress also recently worked with Corden on “Into the Woods,” and during the panel, the host gave Baranski a nod.
“Christine, I absolutely loved you in ‘Into the Woods.’ Who was your favorite person on the set?,” Corden asked, offering no pause before following up with, “Why did you love being around him so much?”
“You, James,” Baranski conceded, before hilariously and abruptly proclaiming, “Next question!”
Baranski did say that Corden reminds her of late actor Robin Williams, with whom she worked on the film “The Birdcage.” To her, Williams and Corden share the ability to be both brilliantly funny and good-hearted at the same time.
“(Williams) can just go off, and suddenly you’re on this ride, and you’re crying with laughter,” she said. “James has that.”
(Pictured: Exec producer-creator Robert King and moderator James Corden at the Paley Center for Media’s 32nd Annual PaleyFest L.A. – ‘The Good Wife’ at Dolby Theatre)