James Corden, the British comedian perhaps best known for his hosting of the ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden, has come under fire from progressive audiences for his portrayal of a gay character in Netflix’s film adaptation of the musical The Prom.

THE PROM (L to R) JAMES CORDEN as BARRY GLICKMAN, NICOLE KIDMAN as ANGIE DICKINSON, MERYL STREEP as DEE DEE ALLEN, KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY as MR. HAWKINS in THE PROM. Cr. MELINDA SUE GORDON/NETFLIX © 2020

Related: Netflix’s Live-Action Cowboy Bebop Will Genderswap Gren from Male to Non-Binary!

Based heavily on the 2010 Itawamba County School District prom controversy, ‘The Prom’ follows the story of four Broadway actors who, following a scathing review of their latest performance, search for a ‘cause’ to attach themselves to in order to improve their images.

 After a brief search on Twitter, the four agree to lend their services to Emma, a teenage lesbian from Indiana whose prom was cancelled because she wanted to bring her girlfriend as her date.

Related: Netflix’s Cuties Makes Shortlist of French Films Considered For Submission To Academy Awards

Setting off for Indiana, the actors soon find themselves embroiled in a legal and media battle against the PTA from Emma’s school, which eventually ends when the school agrees to host an all-inclusive prom.

In the film adaptation, Corden plays Barry Glickman, a narcissistic gay man and one of the aforementioned Broadway actors who initially agree to help Emma solely in the hopes that their virtue signaling will help their respective stars burn brighter.

THE PROM (L to R) ANDREW RANNELLS as TRENT OLIVER, JAMES CORDEN as BARRY GLICKMAN, MERYL STREEP as DEE DEE ALLEN, NICOLE KIDMAN as ANGIE DICKINSON THE PROM. Cr. NETFLIX © 2020

Related: YouTuber Grace Randolph Takes Issue With Netflix’s Casting Of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Don’t Look Up’ Because They Are White

Following the film’s December 11th release on Netflix, Corden’s portrayal of Glickman came under heavy fire from progressive audiences, with many taking particular issue with his performance due to how ‘flamboyantly’ the straight actor portrayed the character.

Musician Sam Young described Corden’s performance as “grossly offensive” and asserted that “someone needs to tell him that it is possible to play a gay character without leaning on archaic stereotypes that are rooted in homophobia.”

“How the f— did Ryan Murphy go from making The Boys in the Band, with an all gay cast to casting James Corden in #TheProm  as one of the most offensively bad portrayals of a gay man I’ve ever seen,” asked @ljwr_.

In a brief but brutal summary of Corden’s performance, Vanity Fair chief critic Richard Lawson declared it to be “one of the worst film performances of the 21st century.”

A number of news outlets also torched Corden for his performance.

In their review of the film, Newsweek’s Samuel Spencer claimed that The Prom’s “biggest problem, however, lies with James Corden,” and noted that “few straight actors could get away with a gay character like this, a role that would feel stereotypical in an ’80s sitcom and here feels offensive.”

THE PROM (clockwise from left): ARIANA DEBOSE as ALYSSA GREENE, NICOLE KIDMAN as ANGIE DICKINSON, KERRY WASHINGTON as MRS. GREENE, KEVIN CHAMBERLIN as SHELDON, KEEGAN-MICHAEL KEY as MR. HAWKINS, JO ELLEN PELLMAN as EMMA, JAMES CORDEN as BARRY GLICKMAN, MERYL STREEP as DEE DEE ALLEN, RYAN MURPHY (DIRECTOR), ANDREW RANNELLS as TRENT OLIVER. Cr. MELINDA SUE GORDON/NETFLIX ©2020

“There’s a sort of meanness to the performance, as if he’s ridiculing what I imagine will be a large percentage of The Prom’s audience,” wrote The Guardian’s Benjamin Lee. “While I fully doubt that was the intention, there’s so little thought or even craft in his work here that I’m not sure if there was any intention involved at all.”

IndieWire’s Zack Sharf shared his opinion that “Corden is offensively miscast” and found that “there’s no beating around the bush: It’s painful to watch James Corden lean into effeminate gay stereotypes and play up sassy gay flourishes.”

THE PROM (L to R) MERYL STREEP as DEE DEE ALLEN, JAMES CORDEN as BARRY GLICKMAN in THE PROM. Cr. MELINDA SUE GORDON/NETFLIX © 2020

Related: Netflix Co-Ceo Defends ‘Cuties’: “It’s A Film That Is Very Misunderstood With Some Audiences, Uniquely Within The United States”

However, Corden’s casting in the role was not without its defenders, particularly his The Prom co-star Andrew Rannells, who told Attitude that, “Obviously, representation is very important, but what I feel that [director Ryan Murphy] does so well is, you know, it’s the best person for the job, quite frankly.”

“In the same way that James can play the gay character, he’s also given me an opportunity to play a straight character, which is not something I do all the time,” the actor added. “As much as he takes [an actor’s sexuality] into consideration, I think ultimately he’s looking for talent and parts, and he’s given me the opportunity to play this part which maybe another director wouldn’t have cast me in, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”

THE PROM (L to R) NICOLE KIDMAN as ANGIE DICKINSON, MERYL STREEP as DEE DEE ALLEN, JAMES CORDEN as BARRY GLICKMAN, ANDREW RANNELLS as TRENT OLIVER in THE PROM. Cr. MELINDA SUE GORDON/NETFLIX © 2020

What do you make of the backlash against Corden? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!

(Visited 2,358 times, 1 visits today)
  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi
    Associate Editor

    Spencer is the Associate Editor for Bounding Into Comics. An unabashed and life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and avid video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Wally West is the best Flash of all time. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

    Related Posts