An upcoming theatrical remake of the classical story Cinderella will include a “genderless” Fairy Godmother played by actor and singer Billy Porter.
Porter, who is gay, told CBS News the 2021 Sony movie will be a “classic fairytale for a new generation.” Singer Camila Cabello will play the lead role of Cinderella.
“It hit me when I was on the set last week, how profound it is that I am playing the Fairy Godmother—they call it the Fab G,” Porter told CBS News this week. “Magic has no gender.
“We are presenting this character as genderless—at least that's how I'm playing it. And it's really powerful,” he said.
Addressing the controversy over a genderless character in a Cinderella film, Porter added, “I think the new generation is really ready. The kids are ready. It's the grownups that are slowing stuff down.”
Disney released its own live-action version of Cinderella in 2015, but the Sony version presumably will be much different. Deadline previously described the 2021 movie as a “musical comedy” that “re-imagines the traditional Cinderella story in which our heroine is an ambitious young woman whose dreams are bigger than the world will allow.”
Porter is known for challenging gender norms. Earlier this year, Porter wore a dress as he appeared on PBS’ Sesame Street. He pushed back against critics of his attire.
“If you don’t like it, don’t watch it,” he told Page Six. “... Like, what about me singing with a penguin [on the show] has anything to do with what I’m doing in my bedroom?”
Still, there were plenty of PBS fans who criticized the company and said it should stick to non-controversial topics.
“Instead of confusing children can't you just continue to teach them how to read, play and count?” one person wrote. “My children will no longer be watching your show. I will continue to teach my children to be kind and accepting of others but I will in no way teach them to accept this as a new ‘normal.’ Political agendas need to be kept to the family home.”
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/fergregory
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.