Josh Gad has revealed that he was responsible for the ‘gay moment’ in 2017’s Beauty and the Beast that fuelled months of headlines and saw the film briefly banned in Malaysia.
The 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast was censored in international markets after the director stated in pre-release interviews that Gad’s character, LeFou, was gay.
The film itself did not explicitly confirm that LeFou was gay, though he was shown briefly dancing with a man.
Josh Gad was ‘amazed’ Disney included Beauty and the Beast gay moment.
Speaking to Andy Cohen on SiriusXM show Radio Andy, Gad revealed that the idea for the depiction of the character was his own.
The actor explained: “It was my pitch, I really felt like that’s how I wanted the movie to end. I was so amazed they let us do it, but we never meant to shine a spotlight from it.
“We wanted the audience to see it and take away from it what they would, but then it became a conflated, weird controversy.”
Gad explained that the original plan was for the moment to be kept low-key and not teased beforehand – only for director Bill Condon to reveal it in an interview.
He said: “We decided that LeFou’s happy ending would be to dance with another man, and that became such a controversial thing, apparently, even though it was only three seconds of screen time.
“We never meant to put a spotlight on it.
“Our director came out and made some comments about it, that he was very proud of it… [but] I think the movie speaks for itself and that moment speaks for itself.”
‘Silly’ controversy showed there’s more to be done about representation.
While many anti-LGBT activists decided to judge the film without even seeing it, Gad explained that the controversy largely evaporated when the film hit cinemas.
He said: “When people realised what it was, everybody was like, ‘Oh, this is silly.’
“We were so proud of the response, because despite the fact there were so many people shouting ‘[garbled homophobia] schwa bwa bwa bwa bwa bwa’, there were so many people who stood up and applauded that moment, and were so excited about it.
“I think that there’s still a lot more work to be done, in terms of equal representation, and I really hope that Disney keeps finding more ways to do that.”
Disney’s upcoming film The Jungle Cruise features a gay character, played by Jack Whitehall – though there are already questions, again, over how direct the film will be about the character’s identity.
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