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Ep. 19: “Why was James Corden’s performance in Netflix’s THE PROM offensive to gay people?”

“It’s harmful because it’s not just about the movie; it’s not just about an actor playing this role. It’s about this representation going out into so many TVs across the world, how that ripple effect affects us in our real lives – not just in show business.” –Tim Murray

In this episode I’m joined by my talented & deeply funny friend Tim Murray. Tim is an actor, comedian, podcast host and all-around wonderful performer. Tim and I both watched the Netflix film based on the Broadway musical, The Prom, at the same time, and his response to the film inspired a very specific question from me: “Why was James Corden’s performance in Netflix’s The Prom offensive to gay people?”

This question opened up several other interesting pathways for our conversation, including the question of whether actors should play characters they don’t represent in real life, whether there is a “gay accent,” and how media depictions of certain groups of people can affect how they are treated in real life.

Interview Highlights:

  • Why Tim didn’t originally mind when straight actors played gay characters, and why he’s since changed his mind.

  • What stereotypes Corden reinforced through his portrayal, and specifically his accent, of a gay man for The Prom.

  • The impact that performances like Corden’s can have on gay people’s lives.

  • Why there can be some commonalities in accents among gay people and why this doesn’t mean there is a specific “gay accent.”

  • Why casting is at the core of this problem and why powerful actors should think carefully about taking these kinds of roles.

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