Beauty and the Beast is a remake of a classic animated film. However, just because the "tale as old as time" has been told before, doesn't mean that the new version doesn't have something new to bring. We already know that the film has Disney's first openly gay moment, but it turns out it also has Disney's first interracial kiss. In fact, it has the first two. Director Bill Condon says he didn't even realize he was making history until it was already done.
I didn't give it a second thought, then at the preview, the [Disney] chairman told me that it was the first and second interracial kiss in a Disney movie. That shocked me. I was surprised it hadn't happened before.... and they [Disney] were excited by that.
The first kiss takes place at the end of the film between Stanley Tucci and Audra McDonald. Tucci plays Credenza, a musician who is cursed to live his life as a piano. McDonald plays singer Madame de Garderobe, who is transformed into the wardrobe. When the spell is finally broken and the two are reunited in human form and they kiss. The same thing happens a moment later between Ewan McGregor's Lumiere and Plumette, the feather duster, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
It's not all that surprising that Bill Condon was, himself, surprised to tell the BBC that there had never been an interracial kiss in a Disney movie. Interracial relationships are becoming more and more commonplace on TV and in film so that one might expect that Disney had certainly been down this road before at some point, even if only for a single kiss. The reason that Condon was surprised seems to be that he literally didn't even consider the implications of the kisses when filming them.
It seems anachronistic that Disney's first interracial kiss takes place in the same film as their first "exclusively gay moment." It was revealed earlier this week that Josh Gad's character LeFou will be at the center of this moment. While Disney is certainly behind the curve on both of these items being displayed in pop culture, they're way behind the curve when it comes to interracial relationships in live-action movies. Even the animated movies beat them to that. Pocahontas kissed a white guy back in the 90s.
Still, it is certainly nice that Disney is happy to see such inclusiveness in their new movie. While Beauty and the Beast certainly focuses on bringing the movie that you know to life, the new story adds quite a bit of additional story and character development to make the story more complete. None of it takes away from the moments that you loved in the original film. Beauty and the Beast arrives in theaters March 17.