Film and TV

Stephen Fry blames Ryan Murphy for James Corden’s disastrous The Prom performance

Maggie Baska February 26, 2021
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Stephen Fry James Corden

(David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Harlan Coben/Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Stephen Fry doesn’t like James Corden’s role in Netflix’s musical The Prom, and he blames the show’s director for his disastrous “camp” performance.

James Corden received harsh criticism for his role in The Prom as Barry Glickman, an ailing gay Broadway star. His subsequent nomination for the Gold Globes for the role sparked a backlash as fans claimed he gave a stereotypical portrayal of a gay man. Erik Anderson, the founder of AwardsWatch, called Corden’s performance “gross and offensive, the worst gay face in a long, long time”.

Now, It’s a Sin star and legendary English actor Fry has weighed in on Corden’s performance as well. He explained to TravelGay that Ryan Murphy, the director of Netflix’s The Prom, should have told Cordon to “dial it down, and not to go for a camp, podgy 1970s figure”.

“I don’t want to add to the hate [Corden] is receiving,” Fry said. “I have to say in his defence that whatever performance ends up on film is the responsibility of the director.”

Stephen Fry doesn’t agree that actors have to be gay to play gay roles

Stephen Fry also said Russell T Davies was “absolutely right” to cast gay actors for gay roles in the hit show It’s a Sin. He said the show, which highlighted the AIDS crisis in the UK, had “something magically extra” because the actors themselves are young gay men.

“They missed the crisis because they’re far too young,” Fry explained. “So there is a sort of feeling as you watch it about how those boys could have been us, particularly for the young people watching.”

But he said not all gay roles need to go to gay actors. He said Davies’ stance on the issue was “just meant for this project” because it “somehow has a special resonance”. Stephen Fry added: “I don’t think when Russell said that he meant it to be true of all drama for all time.”

‘I’ve learned to forgive myself for days that aren’t good’

Stephen Fry, who has been open about his mental health challenges, said he’s taken the time to focus on ‘forgiving’ himself for “days that aren’t good”, especially during the pandemic. He said “there is no right or wrong way” to deal with lockdowns and mental ill-health.

Fry added that social media can be a “nuisance” because “you see how perfect the cakes are that other people bake” or “how pretty and beautiful their gardens are”. But he said that’s the “wrong thing to focus on”.

Related topics: It's a Sin, James Corden, Stephen Fry, the prom

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