Joy and anger over Disney’s gay “Beauty and the Beast” character.
Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast has quickly become one of the most eagerly anticipated movies in history, smashing records when its first trailer racked up more than 127 million views in just 24 hours last November.
While the reimagined romantic classic, featuring Emma Watson and former Downton Abbey star Dan Stevens, might seem like the ultimate celebration of heterosexual love, it’s actually harboring a treasure trove of gay secrets—and is set to make history with Disney’s first ever “exclusively gay moment” on film, reports Attitude, a British gay lifestyle magazine, online at attitude.co.uk.
In the magazine’s April issue (available to download now at their website)—director Bill Condon reveals the heartbreaking true story that helped shape the 1991 film, and how it inspired him to create a character who would break new ground when it comes to LGBT visibility on screen.
Played by actor Josh Gad, the character of LeFou serves as the sidekick to the film’s primary antagonist Gaston (Luke Evans), and is set to feature in a small but significant subplot of his own when it comes to his sexuality.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” reveals Condon.
“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.”
As Attitude’s April issue arrives on newsstands in the UK and the world prepares for Beauty and the Beast to hit screens on March 17, Attitude editor-in-chief Matt Cain has welcomed the news as a landmark moment for LGBT representation.
“It may have been a long time coming but this is a watershed moment for Disney,” he says.
“By representing same-sex attraction in this short but explicitly gay scene, the studio is sending out a message that this is normal and natural—and this is a message that will be heard in every country of the world, even countries where it’s still socially unacceptable or even illegal to be gay.
Matt adds: “It’s only a first step towards creating a cinematic world that reflects the one in which many of us are now proud to live. But it’s a step in the right direction and I applaud Disney for being brave enough to make it—and in doing so hopefully helping to change attitudes and bring about real social progress.”
While many celebrated Disney’s progressive move—others were not as ecstatic. Entertainment Weekly reports that an Alabama theater has canceled its plan to screen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast due to the inclusion of a gay character.
The new owners of the Henagar Drive-In theater alerted its customers via Facebook that they have decided to not screen the film as previously planned after reports confirming the live-action remake’s version of LeFou is gay.
“When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand,” read the post. “If we can not take our 11-year-old granddaughter and 8-year-old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it. I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That’s fine … We will continue to show family oriented films so you can feel free to come watch wholesome movies without worrying about sex, nudity, homosexuality and foul language.”