J.J. Abrams praises Billy Dee Williams”openness’ following gender fluid comments

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Filmmaker J.J. Abrams has praised Star Wars actor Billy Dee Williams after the 82-year-old spoke openly about being gender fluid.

In an interview with Esquire magazine, the star, who first appeared in the Star Wars franchise in 1980 movie The Empire Strikes Back, explained that he uses both male and female pronouns when referring to himself.

“I never tried to be anything except myself,” he said. “I think of myself as a relatively colourful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously… And you see I say ‘himself’ and ‘herself,’ because I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine.”

Speaking with U.S. TV show Extra, Abrams, who directs the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, in which Billy reprises his role as Lando Calrissian, celebrated the actor as the “absolute greatest”.

“I think, honestly, that comment and whatever he meant by it, it speaks to his openness,” he mused. “He has such an amazing life experience and he is such a wonderful guy to talk to in-between takes because he will just start referencing relationships he’s had with these legends in music and film and dance and theatre.”

He added: “No one has a smile like Billy Dee and to have him, to get to work with him at all, has been such a joy. He is just the sweetest.”

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theatres 19 December.

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