Netflix’s newest cheesy musical film The Prom was released this past weekend, and it’s received mixed reviews.
The all-singing, all-dancing movie follows the story of four has-been Broadway stars (Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman and Andrew Rannels) who head to Indiana in search of a social cause to better their image.
They come across a young girl called Emma, (Jo Ellen Pellman) whose high school prom has been cancelled by their homophobic PTA committee because Emma wants to take girlfriend Alyssa (Ariana DeBose) as her date.
The plot of the show has been praised for its inclusivity and great casting, especially in the younger roles.
However, one casting decision has been heavily criticised, and that’s James Corden and his performance as gay actor Barry Glickman.
James, 42, has always identified as straight, and his lazily caricatured portrayal of a flamboyantly gay actor who loves to wear sequins and give makeovers has not gone down well.
Michael Chakraverty wrote for the Metro: “Within the first few minutes of the film, Corden sets out his character’s stall as a camp, effeminate gay man who subscribes to almost every stereotype imaginable.”
Chakraverty continued: “It’s not to say that camp, effeminate, effervescent gay men don’t exist – they most certainly do, but when these are the stereotypes constantly weaponised by straight people to make gay men feel shamed into inferiority, it stings to see them presented on screen in what we’d expect to be a safe space – particularly with the film’s target demographic.”
Andrew Rannells, who plays the straight male role of Trent Oliver has jumped to co-star James’ defence, saying movie casting is about “finding the best person for the job”.
Speaking to Attitude magazine, Andrew stated he believes representation in films and TV is important but added that the movie’s creator-director Ryan Murphy, who is gay, is ‘looking for talent’ first and foremost.
Murphy has been bringing out non-stop Netflix smash hits this year, from Sarah Paulson-fronted thriller series Ratchet to the mini-series Hollywood, but his decision to cast Corden has almost tainted what had the potential to be an incredibly inclusive movie.
Fan criticisms have flooded in over the past few days, with many on Twitter furious that Corden “took this role from a member of the LGBT+ community”
“5 seconds into The Prom and seeing James Corden unconvincingly ‘act’ like a stereotypical camp theatre gay with the AUDACITY to do that beside Meryl Streep ??? I think not”, said one Twitter user, with another adding: “Why James Corden felt the need to make himself even more effeminate to play gay is a little off-putting.
“I get why people don’t like it. He is making a caricature.”
One asked: “Is James Corden playing a gay man in the prom? Was every gay actor busy?”
It wasn’t long before Jedward stepped in either, supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
And everyone is right, there are endless other options that could’ve been explored for the role.
Titus Burgess, Dan Levy, Chris Colfer, Alex Newell, Neil Patrick Harris, or even RuPaul’s Drag Race stars Ginger Minj, Nina West or Monet X Change would’ve all been incredible choices.
Corden is yet to address any backlash, but earlier this year shared the film’s trailer, captioned: “I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this. Everyone deserves a chance to celebrate. @promnetflix debuts globally Dec. 11 x”
Do you think Corden should have been cast in that role?
Image via Alamy