Disney’s take on queer cinema didn’t measure up, according to “Beauty and the Beast” star Josh Gad.
Five years after Gad took on the role of LeFou in Disney’s live-action remake, the “Wolf Like Me” actor is slamming the hype around the “exclusively gay moment” onscreen, as director Bill Condon categorized it in 2017.
The aforementioned moment is Gad’s character, LeFou, dancing in a crowd with Gaston (Luke Evans), which presumably implied LeFou was in love with his boss.
“My regret in what happened is that it became ‘Disney’s first explicitly gay moment’ and it was never intended to be that,” Gad told The Independent. “It was never intended to be a moment that should laud ourselves for, because frankly, I don’t think we did justice to what a real gay character in a Disney film should be.”
At the time, director Condon announced that the “Beauty and the Beast” scene would mark a “first” for Disney. And Gad told USA Today, “What was most important to me was taking a character that is wonderful and so iconic, but is defined by cartoon conceits in the (original) movie…and expanding on that, giving him dimension, making him human. I’m honored to have that moment as part of my character’s arc.”
Gad also noted that “there was nothing in the script that said ‘LeFou is gay.'” Now, the actor is revealing his true thoughts about being LeFou being coded as gay.
“That was not LeFou. If we’re going to pat ourselves on the back, then damn it we should have gone further with that,” Gad told to The Independent. “We didn’t go far enough to warrant accolades. We didn’t go far enough to say, ‘Look how brave we are.'”
Gad concluded, “Everybody deserves an opportunity to see themselves on screen, and I don’t think we’ve done enough — and I certainly haven’t done enough to do that.”
An Alabama theater boycotted the film, staring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens in the titular lead roles, and Disney pulled the movie from Malaysia after chairman of the Malaysian film censorship board, Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, censored a specific “gay moment.”
As IndieWire’s Jude Dry wrote in the review, “As for that gay moment, it’s tough to know which one he meant.”
Dry added that among a “few winks and nods,” intruders are dressed in women’s clothing and “another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment” is when LeFou “dances with a man for a half second.”
Dry continued, “A quarter century has passed since we saw Disney’s Belle fall for the Beast; today, the message that behind every rough man is a charming prince (sorry, Emma) is regressive, if not lethal.”
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