Much ado has been made about Josh Gad’s character, LeFou, being gay in the upcoming live-action remake of the Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast.” One Alabama-based drive-in theater has already cancelled plans to show the film and there’s a decent chance it will never make it to the big screen in Russia, which has a law on the books prohibiting any form of media that the government considers “gay propaganda.” Gad has been taken aback by the backlash.
“Too much has probably been made of this entire thing,” Gad said in an interview with USA Today. “At a certain point what I want to be talking about is how wonderful, how entertaining, how amazing this movie is for all audiences.”
The internet fervor began when “Attitude,” a British gay lifestyle magazine, published an interview with “Beauty and the Beast” director Bill Condon in which he talks about LeFou exploring his sexuality throughout the film. In the 1991 animated film, LeFou is the oft underappreciated sidekick of the film’s would-be hero and love interest, the braggadocios Gaston. The upcoming live-action adaptation looks to bring an extra layer to the character and his relationship with Gaston:
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Condon said. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
Gad insisted there are other lessons to take from “Beauty and the Beast,” too, which is still primarily a children’s film. Such lessons include “not judging a book by its cover” or giving into the fear of the unknown or things we simply don’t understand, which, the actor insists, are just as prescient lessons today as when the original film was released.
Gad’s LeFou marks the first openly gay character to appear in a Walt Disney Pictures film. The studio was founded by Walt Disney in 1923.
Debuting in theaters on March 17, “Beauty and the Beast” is a production of Walt Disney Pictures directed by Bill Condon and starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen and Emma Thompson.
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