That Time James Corden Facetimed The Prom Star Jo Ellen Pellman’s Grandma During Filming The Netflix Musical

Ryan Murphy’s The Prom is almost here and it’s the jazz hands of movie musicals. Stacked with an incredibly-talented cast and brimming with glittery costumes, the Netflix flick may just get you off your couches this holiday season to join in on the gleeful dance numbers. The movie revolves around a group of Broadway stars who journey to a conservative town in Indiana to protest a girl’s right to go to prom with a same-sex date. Keep watch for James Corden and Jo Ellen Pellman’s dynamic in the energetic extravaganza.

Jo Ellen Pellman is a 24-year-old theatre actress who will get her moment to shine in her first film to date, The Prom. Her character, Emma Nolan, memorably bonds with James Corden’s Barry Glickman throughout the film, including with a music number where the pair sing and dance at a mall together. When CinemaBlend spoke to Pellman, she talked about how she built her relationship with the Late Late Show host on set. In her words:

I do think that James and I have a rapport that truly feels like we’ve been friends for ages and he is someone who is such a champion of me and Ariana [DeBose] especially, and so welcoming in this environment of icons, truly. I will always remember just the kind of person James is. We were shooting the finale number and it was a long day. My grandma had just gone into the hospital and she’s a big fan of James and his show. I asked him if he would FaceTime her with me and without hesitation he was like ‘Of course!’ And he made my grandma’s day, and that’s who James is. He will go out of his way to make someone’s day a little brighter and I’m so glad that I can call him a friend.

How sweet! As the soon-to-be breakout star gushed, James Corden is just as sweet as he seems on television. He apparently went above and beyond to make her and Hamilton’s The Bullet, Ariana DeBos (who plays her girlfriend in The Prom), feel comfortable as they stood among some major stars. In one particularly telling instance, he took some time to FaceTime her grandmother, who was at the hospital during the filming of the big last number in the movie.

The relationship between Jo Ellen Pellman’s Emma and James Corden’s Barry is a centerpiece of The Prom, and the actress believes they had some natural chemistry from the get-go. Pellman also gets some huge scenes with Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and the ensemble as well as the egotistical Broadway stars help her get ready to celebrate prom, amidst their protests. The movie also stars Keegan-Michael Key, Kerry Washington, Andrew Rannells and Tracey Ullman.

The Prom has been met with overall positive reviews from critics, with Rotten Tomatoes currently setting its score at Fresh with 68%. The movie is directed by Ryan Murphy, who created Glee and has since gone on to helm the American Horror Story television franchise, along with Pose, The Politician, Hollywood and so forth. The Prom will help round out a huge Broadway year in Hollywood, that has hugely revolved around Hamilton’s huge success on Disney+.

The Prom hits Netflix on Friday, December 11. Check out what else is coming out before the new year on CinemaBlend and stay tuned for more exclusive interviews.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.