Billy Porter says his fairy ‘godmother’ character in Disney’s new live-action version of Cinderella will be ‘genderless’.
The live-action movie, due to be released in 2021, will update Disney’s animated classic from 1950.
Porter told CBS: ‘It hit me when I was on set last week how profound it is that I am playing the fairy godmother, they call it the Fab G.
‘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.’
Moreover, he doesn’t seem afraid of upsetting traditionalists with his new take on the part.
He added: ‘This is a classic, this is a classic fairytale for a new generation. I think that the new generation is really ready. The kids are ready. It’s the grownups that are slowing stuff down.’
Parents and children thank Porter for Sesame Street visibility
Porter, 50, already sparked anti-LGBT+ activists to launch a petition earlier this year. They kicked off when it emerged he would be going on Sesame Street in the same black dress he wore to the Oscars.
Porter said: ‘If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.’
He added: ‘Like, what about me singing with a penguin [on the show] has anything to do with what I’m doing in my bedroom?
‘Stay out of my bedroom and you will be fine — that is none of your business.’
More recently, however, Porter has commented on how much love the Sesame Street argument created.
He said: ‘The emails, DMs, and messages of goodwill I received that day (and continue to receive) from parents and their children who have been bullied all over the world and desperately need to see someone like me, being their authentic selves on mainstream media, is far more important.’
Who else will we see in Cinderella?
Porter, aged 50 and best known for his role in LGBT+ ballroom drama Pose is joining and all-star cast on Cinderella.
Camila Cabello will play Cinderella, with Nicholas Galitzine as Prince Robert and Minnie Driver as Queen Beatrice.
Meanwhile James Corden will play a footman and mouse. And Idina Menzel is even rumored to be a wicked stepmother. We may also see Pierce Brosnan taking a part.
But Porter’s Cinderella won’t be the first Disney character with a bit of LGBT+ magic.
New Disney Pixar film Onward promises to include an openly and clearly LGBT+ character, voiced by lesbian actor Lena Waithe.
Meanwhile Disney has had hidden or coded LGBT+ characters in its most famous films for decades.
And it has long welcomed LGBT+ families to its parks with hugely popular ‘gay days’.