James Corden says he’s glad his school didn’t hold a prom: ‘That would have been a litany of rejection’

Roisin O'Connor
·2-min read
Meryl Streep and James Corden in The Prom (MELINDA SUE GORDON/NETFLIX)
Meryl Streep and James Corden in The Prom (MELINDA SUE GORDON/NETFLIX)

James Corden has said he is relieved that proms were not part of British culture when he was at school.

The American tradition has become more popular in the UK over the years, but The Late Late Show host said his school didn’t have one.

“As I found out more about what proms are, I am incredibly pleased that that was not part of my life because I can only... the very notion of having a thing where it's, 'who are you going to ask to the prom?' and who's going to go with you, that would have just been a litany of rejection,” he told Sky News.

He continued: “I'm very pleased that when we went to our Valentine's disco, I just went with a group of mates from school, and we all tried to smuggle in cans of beer and stuff. I'm very pleased that it wasn't Americanised.”

Corden stars in Ryan Murphy’s new film, The Prom, alongside actors including Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington and Nicole Kidman.

He plays Barry Glickman, a washed-up gay Broadway star hoping to revive his public image, who teams up with other celebrities to help teenager Emma go to the prom with her girlfriend.

Corden has received some criticism for his performance as a gay man, with AwardsWatch founder Erik Anderson calling it “gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It’s horrifically bad.”

James Corden at the Cats premiere in 2019Steven Ferdman/Getty Images
James Corden at the Cats premiere in 2019Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Zack Sharf, news editor at IndieWire, tweeted that the film “shouts about tolerance but has James Corden leaning into effeminate gay stereotypes every chance he gets”.

In a piece for Vanity Fair, critic Richard Lawson said Corden “should have been banned” from the film.

“Corden, flitting and lisping around in the most uninspired of caricatures, misses all potential for nuance, and thus never finds even a hint of truth in the role,” Lawson wrote. “And this is in a movie that’s supposed to be about empowering queer people.”

Corden has not yet commented on the controversy.

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