James Corden ‘very proud’ of gay The Prom role even if critics think it’s ‘gross and offensive’
James Corden has said he is “very proud” of his portrayal of a gay man in Netflix’s The Prom, despite blistering backlash from critics who branded his performance “gross and offensive”.
The British actor stars in Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, which follows a group of out-of-work actors who come to the aid of a lesbian high-school student who is denied the chance to bring a female date to her prom.
Corden plays Barry Glickman, an ailing gay Broadway star – and queer critics are not impressed with his performance. Erik Anderson, founder of AwardsWatch, said Corden was the film’s main “drawback”, saying his performance was “gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It’s horrifically bad.”
James Corden is happy with his role as a gay man in The Prom
But James Corden seems happy with his role in the film. Speaking about his character’s backstory, he said: “I get emotional when I think about those scenes about his family, if I’m honest,” according to Metro.
“They are important scenes which move the story and character forward.
“[As an actor] you spend quite a long time, just personally, feeling like you might be able to have a bit more to give.
“Like you might be able to have a bit more depth and you want someone like Ryan [Murphy] to come along and drop a script in your lap like this.
“And then you go, ‘Oh God, what if I am not able to do these things?’ Ryan, I will be indebted to forever for his guidance, the way that he led me through it. The way he led me through it as a director, the way he led me through it as a friend, the way he led me through it as a gay man. And I’ll treasure those days.”
They honour the characters that are in it, they honour the stories that are being told, they honour that acceptance is everything really.
He continued: “I find it very moving when I think about how I felt on those days when it was just Meryl [Streep] and I. I love those scenes and I’m very proud of them.
“I think what Ryan did in adding that backstory brings so much weight to the story. They honour the characters that are in it, they honour the stories that are being told, they honour that acceptance is everything really.”
The actor went on to talk about his gay friends who have “distant relationships with their families” because of homophobic attitudes, saying: “It’s everything to accept, and know that it’s never too late to forgive those things that at one point you felt were forgivable.”
Corden faced significant backlash from critics who were given advance screenings of the film before it arrives on Netflix on 11 December for his performance as a gay Broadway star.
Critic Zack Sharf said the film “shouts about tolerance but has James Corden leaning into effeminate gay stereotypes every chance he gets”, while other critics expressed similar sentiments.