Thursday, May 13, 2021

Billy Porter to play genderless Fairy Godmother in ‘Cinderella’ remake

A simple-minded young white girl being abused by her stepmother and stepsisters finds a way out in the arms of a plump, elderly fairy woman and a prince. The story of Cinderella is one known around the world and resonates as a timeless classic. 

The animated Disney movie debuted in 1950 and saw a live-action remake hit theaters in 2015, both times sticking to the same narrative and stereotypical portrayals of the characters.

Despite the success of both movies, another remake is set to release in February 2021 and will take amazing leaps in terms of representation. Not only will Cinderella herself be played by Camila Cabello, but the Fairy Godmother will be played by the famously androgynous Billy Porter. Other star cast members include Pierce Brosnan, Idina Menzel and John Mulaney.

According to The New York Post, the role of the kind-hearted fae will be genderless, a move that has blown minds across the internet and drawn both support and backlash.

Non-binary, gender-nonconforming and agender individuals are thrilled to be represented in such an iconic film. It is refreshing to see someone outside of the binary breaking stereotypes in film, because Hollywood seems very set in its straight, white, cisgender ways. 

Porter himself is enthusiastic about his work, as The New York Post quotes: “Who I am and what I represent is very specific and really shows that this moment is about inclusivity and moving the needle towards self-acceptance and humanity and self-care and all those things.” 

However, older fans of the story are appalled at the changes to the script, demanding to know why something that has always been one way needs to be changed now. A vast majority of the protests come from homophobes and transphobes, something that Porter has elected to ignore in favor of concentrating on his work.

An online report from quotes him as saying, “What other people think about me is not my business. A lot of people stand on the sidelines and like to talk stuff on people who are actually in the game. I’m in the game. I’m going to continue to be in the game and let whatever people think about me exist on the outside of me. Because I’m just going to keep doing me.”

Regardless of the homophobic backlash, this remake will be quite remarkable. Variety magazine states that it will be “a musical comedy that takes the traditional movie and interprets the princess as a young, ambitious heroine,” while Porter has also said that it is meant to be uplifting and empowering to women and the LGBT+ community as a whole.

With proper representation, a powerful cast and a strong message, this remake will be both separate and cohesive with the original, giving new narratives and courage to the next generation.

Email River Ashe Maynard at

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