James Corden's turn as a gay man in 'The Prom' derided as 'the worst gayface in a long, long time'

Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·3 min read

James Corden is under fire for his performance in Netflix’s upcoming musical The Prom.

The heterosexual late night host plays an openly gay Broadway actor named Barry Glickman, who describes himself as “gay as a bucket of wigs,” in the Ryan Murphy-directed film adaptation of the Broadway musical. The movie doesn’t come out in select theaters until Dec. 4 and on Netflix on Dec. 11, but some of the critics who’ve seen it are already deeming Corden’s turn “offensive” and “horrifically bad.”

James Corden hosts "The Late Late Show." (Photo: Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images)
James Corden hosts "The Late Late Show." (Photo: Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images)

That last phrase could also be used to summarize the reviews knocking Corden. Despite that, the overall movie has earned positive reviews: a 77 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 43 opinions.

The negative takes on Corden cited the fact that he plays a flamboyant character.

And critics weren’t only ones voicing their displeasure with the casting choice. Moviegoers complained that having a straight man in the part felt “gross.”

Yahoo Entertainment has reached out to Corden, Netflix and LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD and will update with any responses.

The movie co-stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Keegan-Michael Key in a story about a lesbian teenager in a small Indiana town whose school cancels the prom rather than allow her to attend with her girlfriend. Broadway stars descend on the area to rally behind the teen, Emma (played by newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman).

Corden’s earlier acting work include voiceovers in the movies Trolls and Peter Rabbit. He also appeared in the live-action, female reboot Ocean’s Eight in 2018, the 2014 musical Into the Woods and in last year’s big screen version of Cats.

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