Andrew Rannells, who plays Trent Oliver in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix adaptation of Broadway’s The Prom, is speaking out about James Corden and his controversial decision to take on the role of gay theater actor Barry Glickman.
Corden’s over-the-top performance has been trashed by critics amid generally good reviews for the exuberant musical about two lesbians forbidden from attending prom.
Tweeted Vanity Fair critic Richard Lawson: “It’s one of the worst film performances of the 21st century.”
Erik Anderson, the founder of AwardsWatch, tweeted “Really liked #TheProm. A gorgeous and vibrant production. Streep is hilarious and commanding. Keegan-Michael Key is dreamy. Kidman, Rannells and Washington are fun. Ariana DeBose is winsome. But it’s Jo Ellen Pellman who has my heart in a wonderful, star-making turn. The main, and huge, drawback is James Corden. His performance is gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It’s horrifically bad.”
Wrote Indiewire: “There’s no beating around the bush: It’s painful to watch James Corden lean into effeminate gay stereotypes and play up sassy gay flourishes. I understand this is the character originally played in the award-winning Broadway by Brooks Ashmanskas (an out gay man), but Corden appears so awkward and out of place whenever he tries to match Ashmanskas’ flamboyancy. And he does that a lot.”
Criticism of Corden’s performance has fueled opinions that straight men should not be hired to play gay roles.
Rannells spoke with Attitude magazine about it in a new interview: “You know, I kinda I go back and forth about this. Obviously, representation is very important, but what I feel that Ryan does so well is, you know, it’s the best person for the job, quite frankly. In the same way that James can play the gay character, he’s also given me an opportunity to play a straight character, which is not something I do all the time. As much as he takes [an actor’s sexuality] into consideration, I think ultimately he’s looking for talent and parts, and he’s given me the opportunity to play this part which maybe another director wouldn’t have cast me in, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity.”
Read the full interview here.