Disney has finally heeded the call to add openly LGBTQ+ characters to its movies, and it’s starting with Beauty and the Beast.
At long last, we can report that Disney has taken the leap from ambiguous background characters like Oaken and his probably-but-not-stated husband in Frozen to an actual, on-screen confirmed “exclusively gay moment”: Via Attitude, the honor goes to Josh Gad’s Le Fou in the upcoming live-action Beauty and the Beast.
Le Fou, whose infatuation with Gaston is of course already canon, will have a “small but significant subplot of his own when it comes to his sexuality,” the magazine can reveal, having spoken to director Bill Condon, who explains, “Le Fou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston.”
“He’s confused about what he wants,” Condon adds. “It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh [Gad] 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.”
It will probably also tie in nicely with one of the themes of the movie, which is the lack of tolerance in Belle’s small village. We already know that Belle is an outcast because of her smarts and ambition, and it will be interesting to see how Le Fou’s sexuality will be addressed in this context.
Attitude editor-in-chief Matt Cain further explains why this moment is so significant:
“It may have been a long time coming but this is a watershed moment for Disney. 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.”
This is indeed a wonderful first step to hopefully being able to introduce many non-straight characters in future films. We trust Josh Gad with this character, but Le Fou is a small role, and while a sympathetic character he is the lackey of the film’s lead villain.
Disney’s willingness to confirm Le Fou’s sexuality hopefully speaks of a general commitment to featuring and normalizing LGBTQ+ characters in their movies in future. This is the same studio which was slammed by GLAAD last year due to its complete lack of non-straight movie characters. Clearly, Disney has been paying attention, so yay for progress!
Beauty and the Beast stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens, with Luke Evans as Gaston and the ensemble cast counting the great Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Audra McDonald, Emma Thompson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Kevin Kline and Stanley Tucci. The movie opens on March 17, 2017.