New 'Beauty and the Beast' to Feature Disney's First Gay Character
Bill Condon, director of the upcoming film, told Attitude the story that "inspired him to create a character who would break new ground when it comes to LGBT visibility on screen." That character is LeFou (played by American actor Josh Gad, best known as Olaf in Frozen, 2013), most famous for his leading role in the song "Gaston," which Condon interprets as a love song to Gaston (played by British actor Luke Evans, known for Dracula, 2014).
"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon told Attitude. "He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realising that he has those 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," the director concluded.
While LeFou was obsessed with Gaston in the 1991 film, there is little hint of actual homosexual attraction. This guy is merely a sidekick following the star of this little French town, and he might as well be Gaston's camp follower, picking up one or more of the girls rejected by Gaston.
There is little evidence to prove this homosexuality from the clip of "Gaston" which Disney has released.
Nevertheless, Attitude editor-in-chief Matt Cain praised Disney for this LGBT push. "It may have been a long time coming but this is a watershed moment for Disney," Cain said. "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."
The editor called it "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 take it."
Is Disney "brave" to take this step? After all, one of Britain's most famous authors (J.K. Rowling) controversially declared one of her beloved characters (Albus Dumbledore) to be gay, after her Harry Potter book series had come to a close. There seems to be a cultural push to include LGBT people and themes in more films and television shows, and little refuge for those who may not appreciate this change.
Furthermore, LeFou is a side character, the sidekick to Gaston, who doesn't exactly come across as the hero of the story. LeFou also isn't the smartest tool in the shed. Could Disney really be shooting itself in the foot by making a less popular character subtly gay? Wouldn't that be ironic?