By: Riley Head ~Staff Writer~
Days away from the Friday release of their highly anticipated live-action Beauty and the Beast remake, Disney producers have made a statement that the character LeFou is gay.
LeFou is the sidekick of Gaston, the fairy tale’s notoriously conceited antagonist. LeFou’s main role in the story is fanning Gaston’s ego and acting as his hype man. The role is played by Josh Gad, and it is the first explicitly gay character in a Disney film.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” director Bill Condon said. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings.”
Condon also expressed frustration at the backlash from the announcement. LeFou briefly dances with another male character at the end of the movie. This small moment in the movie has prompted outrage and protest.
Russia chose to restrict children under 16 from seeing Beauty and the Beast, and one drive-in-theater in Alabama is choosing not to screen it anymore.
Other people, including members of the cast, have wondered at this passionate backlash.
“People who don’t like the idea of gay characters appearing in fairy stories should think what they would think if they were gay themselves and why should they be excluded?” Ian McKellen, who plays Cogsworth in the movie, said at the film’s New York premiere Monday.
When asked about the protest, Gad said, “What I would say is that this film is one of inclusiveness.”
He said that the dance at the end of the movie is “subtle but incredibly effective.” In several statements Gad also said that he hopes that the audience focuses more on the dangerous persuasive power of Gaston over what he sees as a tiny inclusive moment with LeFou.
Emma Watson, who plays Belle in the film, said that the “gay moment” may have been overstated.
“Does (LeFou) idolize Gaston? Is he in love with Gaston?” Watson said during an interview earlier this week. “What’s the relationship there? And I think it’s incredibly subtle, to be perfectly honest.”