After Billy Porter’s recently stunning red carpet looks, most of which have been wickedly gorgeous gowns, the Internet couldn’t help compare him to Cinderella’s fairy godmother. And it got people thinking, what if Billy Porter played the fairy godmother in a live-action adaptation of Cinderella?
And while the news was released to the public back in October regarding the casting of Sony’s Cinderella, Porter recently revealed in an interview with CBSNews that he will be playing the fairy godmother as genderless, even if it isn’t directly stated in the scripts.
“We are presenting this character as genderless – at least that’s how I’m playing it. And it’s really power.” He went on to say “This is a classic fairytale for a new generation, and I think that the new generation is really ready. The kids are ready. It’s the grown-ups that are slowing stuff down.”
Indeed, this is a step in the right direction, not only for representation of LGBTQ+ peoples, but all minorities. As Vogue stated in an article back in October, “Porter’s casting-and the reinvention of these old tales, including who can star in them and who can play whom--is a step toward ushering the princess genre into a new era.”
Critics often note these characters weren’t LGBTQ+ in the original, nor people of color, often citing the change is, somehow, “perverting the original and completely changing the stories.” Some internet critics I’ve seen say “If the roles were reversed, it would be an outrage! It completely changes the entire story.”
You might have heard such critics back when Disney cast Halle Bailey in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Yes, in a world of talking crabs, sea witches, and mermaids, the most unrealistic thing is a woman’s skin color. The critique is largely senseless and devoid of any such logic, and even worse it ignores the systematic erasure of minorities in stories largely told through the western lens.
Along side Billy Porter, the live-action Sony adaptation will star Camila Cabello as Cinderella and Idinia Menzel as the evil stepmother. The movie will be directed by Key Cannon and has been described as being a “romantic musical comedy”.
If we constantly stuck to the source material, written in a time where minority writers were completely excluded, we’d never have representation of minorities in any films, books, or art in general.
Porter is right: it’s time we move forward. Afterall, as Porter says, "Magic has no gender."