Actor Billy Dee Williams arrives at the premiere of Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm’s ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
When actor Billy Dee Williams, best known for playing Lando Calrissian in Star Wars, referred to himself with both he/him and she/her pronouns, it was widely interpreted that he was telling the world he was gender fluid.
Williams, 82, will be reprising his role as Calrissian for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December.
Last week, he spoke to Esquire about his pronouns, explaining that he used both “himself” and “herself”. He added: “I think of myself as a relatively colourful character who doesn’t take himself or herself too seriously…. I also see myself as feminine as well as masculine.”
But now, speaking to the New York Times about the Esquire profile, he has said that wasn’t what he meant at all.
He said: “That was a good article, except that thing about gender — what’s it called, gender-fluid? I had never heard that expression before. But I don’t really know what it means. What does it mean?”
When the New York Times interviewer explained that “gender fluid” means not identifying exclusively with one gender, Williams said: “Well, that’s not what I was talking about. I was talking about, I think that men should get in touch with their female self.
“Men should not be afraid or ashamed of expressing the soft side of themselves.”
He also seemed confused about the difference between gender and sexuality, adding: “I wasn’t talking about running around and having a good time, playing male or female sexual games.”
The actor said that what he was actually talking about was “what Carl Jung talked about, the anima-animus: the anima being the female counterpart of the male self, animus… I just want to tell everybody, read Carl Jung. He was a contemporary of Freud’s.”
Jonathan Kasdan, co-screenwriter for Solo: A Star Wars Story, revealed last year that there was “a [sexual] fluidity” to the character of Calrissian played by Williams and, in recent years, Donald Glover.
Glover himself confirmed this, saying: “How can you not be pansexual in space? There’s so many things to have sex with. I’m serious.
“It just didn’t seem that weird to me. You’re in space; the door’s open.”