The live action remake of Beauty and the Beast is slated to have Disney's first openly gay character, according to the film's director.
Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon revealed in his recent interview with Attitude magazine that LeFou, played by Josh Gad in the movie, is a gay character.
"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon explained to the magazine.
LeFou's feelings are rather clear even in subtext in the 1991 animated film, when LeFou sings about how amazing Gaston is and literally delving into how he is an incredible physical specimen.
"He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realising that he has these feelings," Condon continued. "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."
While this is a progressive step forward for Disney, it also serves as a touching tribute to one of the artists who made 1991's Beauty and the Beast so great: lyricist Howard Ashman. Ashman was gay and dying of AIDS while writing the film's now-iconic music, and as Condon explains, it was Ashman's idea to make it a musical and make Beast a main character.
"Specifically for him, it was a metaphor for AIDS," Condon said, of Beast. "He was cursed, and this curse had brought sorrow on all those people who loved him, and maybe there was a chance for a miracle-and a way for the curse to be lifted. It was a very concrete thing that he was doing."
Beauty and the Beast will be released in theaters Friday, March 17.
Watch a clip featuring Gad as LeFou interacting with Luke Evans' Gaston here: