Billy Porter Explains Playing Genderless Fairy Godmother in ‘Cinderella’

  • Billy Porter plays a “genderless” version of the fairy godmother called Fab G.
  • He told Insider the inspiration behind the choice: “Magic has no gender.”
  • The actor said the role was a “dream” because it was played by his childhood idol, Whitney Houston.

When Amazon Prime Video’s remake of the classic “Cinderella” story — centered on a girl who falls in love and marries a prince — was first envisioned, the Fairy Godmother character wasn’t genderless.

It wasn’t until Billy Porter nabbed the part that the iconic role changed due to conversations with writer-director, Kay Cannon. 

The Emmy Award-winning actor joins the likes of Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, and James Corden in a modern musical retelling of the “Cinderella” fairytale. In this version, Porter plays a genderless version of the Fairy Godmother called Fabulous Godmother or Fab G for short.

“It evolved and the thing that came out of the evolution was ‘magic has no gender,’ so make it genderless, gender-free, gender-fluid whatever you want to say. There is no gender,” Porter, who made history as the first openly gay Black man to win a lead actor drama Emmy, explained. 

Camila Cabello and Billy Porter Cinderella

Camila Cabello and Billy Porter in Amazon’s “Cinderella.”

Amazon Studios

Cannon told Insider that Fab G was the only character that she wrote for this remake with an actor in mind. 

“The actors all came later except for Billy Porter’s part. I typically write with people in mind all the time, that’s kind of my thing,” she admitted. 

“You could look at the Fab G as if I’m trying to do something, but really I was just showing it in a different way,” the director added, “and I think Billy is amazing and it looks great.”

Porter only appears in the movie for one scene to get Cinderella ready for the ball, but he’s definitely a stand-out character when he floats in and parades through Cinderella’s backyard in his dazzling outfit while singing “Shining Star.”

In Variety’s review of the movie, Courtney Howard writes: “But it’s Porter who steals the show. He does not disappoint. He’s vivacious, vibrant and knows precisely how to deliver a satisfying ‘well, well, well’ — so much so that younger audiences might assume he invented its usage.”

Porter told Insider that he was so excited about getting the role of the Fairy Godmother in the upcoming remake of “Cinderella” that he ran around the house screaming.

Billy Porter and Kay Cannon in Cinderella

Billy Porter and Kay Cannon on the set of “Cinderella.”

Amazon Studios

Porter said that Fab G was “a dream role” that he never knew he had because his childhood idol, Whitney Houston, had previously had the same role in the 1997 Rodgers and Hammerstein version of the tale.

“I wanted to be the male Whitney Houston when I was 14 years old,” the “Pose” star said. ” I got this call and I ran around the house screaming and hollering, ‘I got the Whitney Houston part! I got the Whitney Houston part!'”

“Dreams do come true even when you forget about them. I never would have imagined that in a million years,” he added.

“Cinderella,” also starring Minnie Driver and Pierce Brosnan, is set to stream on Amazon Prime Video Friday.

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