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James Corden joins an impressive all-star cast in Netflix’s upcoming musical 'The Prom'. What's wrong with the role Corden plays?

‘The Prom’: Who let James Corden play a gay man? It’s insulting

It’s our fault. We encouraged it. We watched every new episode of Carpool Karaoke when they dropped, humming along almost as uncomfortably as George Clooney did to “Hollaback Girl” in his episode a few years back. 

We continued to take part in his Crosswalk the Musical series, a creative otherwise meandering sketch that seemed to exist only to provide work for Josh Gad who fell short of his Olaf voice recording quota. 

And yes, this was our worst mistake.

How it started

We let him get so famous, Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper took a flyer out on this late-night host for his upcoming on-screen adaption of the timeless Broadway smash, Cats, a film that spits a giant hairball in the face of its audience thanks to its weak singing and poor special effects. 

If you haven’t figured it out by now, of course, we’re talking about host, actor, and singer James Corden, a man who illustrates about as much subtly as Tim Allen in any one of his Santa Clause sequels. 

Corden, an English entertainer who rose to stardom here in the states after his CBS debut of The Late Late Show with James Corden took off, has been utilized throughout the entertainment industry over the years wearing many hats. 

How it’s going

Obviously, many producers see Corden as some type of exciting swiss army knife – if only they realized that it was very rusty and sometimes dull in certain attachments. 

And now, here we are today as Corden joins an impressive all-star cast in Netflix’s upcoming musical based on the recent Broadway show, The Prom. And while the film is slated to be released to subscribers on Dec 11th, early critic reviews are already beginning to pour in. 

The Prom’s plot

The film, directed by Glee & American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy, tells the story of a group of eccentric theatre stars who travel to a small Indiana town to help support a high school girl who wishes to bring her girlfriend to her school’s prom.

Corden plays the role of Broadway actor Barry Glickman, a flamboyant Broadway diva that was originated on stage by theatre actor Brooks Ashmanskas, even earning him a Tony nomination for his performance. 

Admittedly, while Corden does have a pleasant singing voice and charisma, the question still remains as to why Murphy, who’s worked with plenty of openly gay actors in his career, cast Corden in this role, one that could’ve served as a giant stepping-stone for a rising star? 

Behind the casting

The first important thing to assume is that Netflix & Murphy were banking on star power to attract viewers, as the film offers quite an impressive marquee with names like Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells, Kegan-Michael Key, and, yes, James Corden. 

Corden is a trending name, and he pumps out as much quality television content as prime Snooki. Perhaps Corden’s casting was simply a move of striking the iron while it was still hot. 

The problem is that Corden’s style of television entertainment doesn’t translate to feature films. 


Corden’s performance feels a bit offensive, to say the very least. 

To be fair, this might also fall on the lap of Murphy’s direction, as this type of eccentric character should’ve NEVER been played by a straight actor, sans maybe a Robin Williams in The Birdcage. Shoot, now we really want to rewatch the 1990s version of this film!

Corden’s gay-face simply falls flat of any heart, unable to channel any real-life struggles that perhaps a gay actor might’ve been able to channel, where the character of Barry Glickman could’ve been used as a visual celebration of overcoming diversity and hate for all audiences to see.

Falling flat

For Corden, it’s clear his mind, soul, and body were willing to go there in terms of trying to nail this performance, driving home an important message about love & acceptance. Regrettably, the vehicle never actually got out of the driveway, which is saying a lot for the host of Carpool Karaoke.  

While films are a collaborative effort, it’s important to take note that this is now two major swings & misses for the Late Late Night host, and maybe casting directors and producers need to take a step back on putting James Corden in a role that doesn’t involve voice work (i.e. Peter Rabbit or Superintelligence).   

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  • It’s called “acting” for a reason genius 🙄🙄 this might destroy your universe but robin Williams wasn’t actually a genie, bill murry isn’t actually a bear and emila Clark isn’t actually a Targaryen. There are plenty of straight actors who play gay and even more gay actors who play straight, it’s pretend, and anyone can play anyone that’s the fun part of it, don’t ruin it for everyone else, saying I can’t play a part because of something in my personal life is very limiting and it’s just plain insulting 2 the craft👍

    December 26, 2020

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