James Corden Blasted for Playing Gay Character in Netflix’s ‘The Prom’

Netflix
Netflix

Critics are blasting actor James Corden’s portrayal of a gay character in the Netflix movie The Prom, calling the actor’s flamboyant performance “offensive,” “the worst gay-face,” and “horrifically bad.”

“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,” reported IndieWire‘s Zack Sharf.

Sharf went on to say that the actor “picks and chooses the moments he wants to dial up the flamboyance on a line of dialogue, or to sass up a hand gesture or an eye-roll,” but that he isn’t consistent, and “treats flamboyancy as a selective choice, rather than a personality trait.”

“The inconsistency means that Corden is playing off crass gay stereotype rather than sublimating them into his character,” added Sharf.

The Prom, which stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, and Keegan-Michael Key, is based on the Broadway musical, which follows a group of musical theatre stars who travel to a small town in Indiana to rally behind a teenage girl who wants to go to her high school prom with her girlfriend.

Some fans of the Prom have also taken to social media to blast Corden’s portrayal of the character, stating that it relies on gay stereotypes.

“I’m only 3 minutes into The Prom movie and this James Corden performance is already giving bad gay stereotypes,” said one fan on Twitter.

“How the fuck 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,” tweeted another.

“Why on earth would they hire James Corden… a British, straight, TV show host that cant sing… to play a gay American Broadway actor… next to the amazing Andrew Rannells, who fits the role perfectly??” commented another user on social media.

“They couldn’t find ONE gay man in America? James Corden it is,” lamented a fourth user on social media.

“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,” said a fifth.

Corden’s co-star Andrew Rannells — who is gay — defended Corden’s opportunity to play a gay character.

“[He’s] the best person for the job,” said Rannells.

Rannells spoke with Attitude magazine about the issue, stating that while he believes “representation” in the entertainment industry is important, he also thinks that the film’s director Ryan Murphy — who is also gay — is “looking for talent” above all else.

“You know, I kinda I go back and forth about this,” said Rannells. “Obviously, representation is very important, but what I feel that Ryan does so well is, you know, it’s the best person for the job, quite frankly.”

Rannells also touched upon the fact that he, as a gay actor, is playing the role of a straight character.

“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 said. “As much as [Murphy] 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.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, on Parler at @alana, and on Instagram.

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