Apart from bringing to life one of Disney’s most beloved stories, the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie is also making headlines for its progressive characters. According to a report by Attitude.co.uk (h/t MovieWeb.com), director Bill Condon revealed that the character LeFou, played by Josh Gad, is gay and will introduce a subplot about his sexuality.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Condon said, per Attitude. “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.”
In his personal life, Gad is not gay and is married to Ida Darvish with two kids. However, Beauty and the Beast does have at least one gay actor on its cast. Sir Ian McKellen, who is perhaps most known for his role as Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, is gay.
The introduction of Disney’s first gay character comes nearly 10 months after GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) released its annual studio-responsibility index. In the organization’s report, which highlights studios that feature LGBT characters and those that do not, Disney’s LucasFilm and Paramount were the only two studios that did not feature an LGBT character in 2015.
GLAAD has since urged Disney to include LGBT characters in their movies. It began with the organization imploring that Star Wars: The Last Jedi feature an LGBT character.
“As sci-fi projects have the special opportunity to create unique worlds whose advanced societies can serve as a commentary on our own, the most obvious place where Disney could include LGBT characters is in the upcoming eighth Star Wars film,” the report reads, according to a report by Variety.com’s Brent Lang. “2015’s The Force Awakens has introduced a new and diverse central trio, which allows the creators opportunity to tell fresh stories as they develop their backstory. Recent official novels in the franchise featured lesbian and gay characters that could also be easily written into the stories.”
Star of the movie Emma Watson commented on her character Belle with relation to the original movie’s protagonists. For Watson, it was about understanding why her and co-star Dan Stevens‘ characters didn’t fit in with the world.
“I think it was really important for Dan and I to develop and understand why each of our characters feel as if they don’t fit in,” Watson said. “I certainly felt watching the original that I wanted to know more about why Belle feels that she’s different and why she wants to be different and why she’s naturally different.”