Watch: James Corden talks dealing with critics
James Corden has been panned for his “horrific” portrayal of a gay character in Netflix musical The Prom.
The Gavin and Stacey star is part of a big-name cast in Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of the Broadway show for TV, but has offended critics and viewers with his performance.
He appears alongside Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman in The Prom, a story of a group of has-been actors who visit a small town in Indiana to help a lesbian teen who has been banned from her prom.
— Ryan Murphy (@MrRPMurphy) December 11, 2020
But despite Murphy’s production getting mostly good reviews, Corden’s turn as gay Broadway former star Barry Glickman is being torn apart for relying on dated stereotypes.
AwardsWatch founder Erik Anderson, who had enjoyed the rest of The Prom, tweeted: “The main, and huge, drawback is James Corden.
“His performance is gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It's horrifically bad.”
The main, and huge, drawback is James Corden. His performance is gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It's horrifically bad. https://t.co/av5W0SlxFX
— Erik Anderson (@awards_watch) November 29, 2020
Variety’s Matt Donnelly tweeted: “Ryan Murphy delivers some of his most uncluttered, concise directing ever in #TheProm and then gives James Corden a bullhorn to lisp through.
“Horrifying stereotypes abound. ‘I’m as a gay as a bucket of wigs’ among the gems. How? Why?”
Ryan Murphy delivers some of his most uncluttered, concise directing ever in #TheProm and then gives James Corden a bullhorn to lisp through. Horrifying stereotypes abound. “I’m as a gay as a bucket of wigs” among the gems. How? Why?
— Matt Donnelly (@MattDonnelly) November 30, 2020
Some of those who saw the film explained why they were offended by his performance, questioning the decision to cast a straight actor in the role of a gay man.
James Corden proves that society has progressed past the need for straight actors to play LGBT+ roles. There are countless LGBT+ actors who could’ve had the role in #TheProm his character doesn’t feel like Corden is playing a gay man it feels like he’s mocking gay men
— 𝕝𝕛𝕨𝕣 • Lewis 😷 (@ljwr_) December 11, 2020
THE PROM taught me a real lesson about tolerance. I used to think that it was permissible for a straight actor to play a gay character in some circumstances; now I'm willing to go hard-line against it if it means denying James Corden even one future role.
— jesse (@rockmarooned) November 29, 2020
James Corden is ruining this pro lgbtq movie. Have to say I’m mostly offended every other word he says. #TheProm
— will bryant vickers (@willbv77) December 12, 2020
One viewer tweeted: “James Corden, a straight man, portraying a gay man like this just makes me 100000% uncomfortable.”
And another viewer added: “James Corden’s performance is grossly inappropriate. It’s not brave playing a gay man, in fact you stole the role from a member of the LGBTQ community.”
However, some viewers stuck up for him, claiming that he was just playing the character the way the show had written him.
#TheProm The character, Barry, is supposed to be flamboyant. Like he's a heavily effete gay man in the Broadway show as well. This is from someone whose queer as well as a Broadway nerd. I know James Corden has his issues but his character is effete. It's how he's played.
— mr bean⁷ 𖧷 (@somanyoreos) December 11, 2020
The Prom was originally a musical that opened on Broadway in 2016.
It has been adapted for Netflix by producer Ryan Murphy, known for his work on Glee, American Horror Story, Pose, and Ratched.
Watch: James Corden thinks we should all be a bit more Meryl Streep