Billy Porter reinvents the fairy godmother as 'the Fab G' in Kay Cannon's Cinderella: First look
The Emmy-winning star's take on the magical mentor will have you asking "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Who-is that?"
Much like its heroine at the end of Act 1, the Cinderella story is ready for a makeover.
With her jukebox musical Cinderella (on Amazon Prime Video in September), writer-director Kay Cannon (Blockers) wanted to modernize the classic tale, making its protagonist "vocal and active, [someone who] craves independence and has dreams and wants to follow them," the filmmaker, 46, tells EW.
Camila Cabello makes her big-screen debut in the title role, but her character isn't the only one getting a fresh spin. Billy Porter joins the ranks of onscreen fairy godmothers, too, and the Emmy-winning Pose star's dazzling incarnation of the magical mentor will have you asking "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Who-is that?"
Why, it's the Fab G, as Porter's fairy-tale persona is called, here to help our modern Cindy manifest her inner princess. Wanting to avoid comparisons to fairy godmothers past, Cannon says she decided early on simply "to make it Billy Porter." She wrote the role specifically for the actor and his talents, and once he was on board (Cannon remembers casting him as the "easiest thing" in the film's entire process), Porter continued to shape the character — a supernatural being who stands for being true to oneself, and who transcends mundane human labels. "Billy articulated the idea [that] magic has no gender," says Cannon.
Porter's musical number got a tweak, too; the filmmaker won't confirm which beloved tune he performs (though she does hint that fans might be able to find a clue on his social media), but the script's original pick of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" was swapped out for a Porter-perfect replacement, arranged to perfectly suit his voice — and leave a strong impact. "I think it's only like 12 minutes that he's onscreen," Cannon says, but "he'll be your favorite part."
With an otherworldly orange coat from costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (Bridgerton) and custom Jimmy Choo butterfly boots, Porter's look is as fab as the character's moniker suggests — and, like the part itself, something only he could pull off. "He fits the role so well. He's so ridiculously talented," Cannon says. "To me, Billy is magic."
Cinderella will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video in September.
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