Over the last couple of years we've seen Disney grow more progressive with their animated films, and if you need an example look no further than Oscar winner, Zootopia, which spread a well-received message against racism. Well now the Mouse House is taking an even bolder step in their remake of Beauty and the Beast by finally introducing their first openly gay character.
The character of Gaston's sidekick Le Fou will be played by Josh Gad in the remake, and according to director Bill Condon, speaking with Attitude Magazine, he will also be gay. I think that was always the suggestion from the 1991 movie, but Condon and co. will be embracing it fully now. He says...
“LeFou 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. 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 pay-off at the end, which I don’t want to give away.”
There is greater context for all of this as the 1991 classic was inspired by the film's lyricist, Howard Ashman, a gay man who related his struggle with AIDS to the Beast's outsider status. He would succumb to the disease soon after the first screening.
This is a big step for Disney and I think it's only a matter of time before we see a lead character, perhaps even a Disney princess, who is gay. Beauty and the Beast opens March 17th, and you can check out a new clip below.