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There are Disney movies, and then there are classic animated features that have helped shape generations of kids. 1991's Beauty and the Beast is the latter, with its lasting cultural impact, strong female lead, and Oscar Nominated score. So it seemed like a perfect choice to recreate in live-action, especially considering that early trailers hinted at a very faithful adaptation of the original film. But the new Beauty and the Beast is making a few changes, and perhaps the most controversial one is that Gaston's sidekick LeFou will be harboring same-sex attraction toward the villain. This has opened up a conversation about visibility and inclusion, and now the actor has revealed how he feels about playing such a groundbreaking character.
[Director] Bill Condon did an amazing job of giving us an opportunity to create a version of LeFou that isn't like the original, that expands on what the original did, but that makes him more human and makes him a wonderfully complex character to some extent. I'm very proud of it. I think it's an incredible moment and it's subtle, but I think it's effective.
Looks like the Frozen actor is more than happy to be playing another iconic Disney character. And this time he also gets to affect change by portraying a queer character for the House of Mouse.
The revelation of LeFou's sexuality has been quite the controversial subject since its announcement. In the wake of the news, one drive-in theater has already pledged to boycott Beauty and the Beast, citing religious reasons as to why they won't be airing the live-action adaptation. Other critics believe that inclusion and visibility feel forced, pandering to an specific demographic of moviegoers. Much like Sulu's sexuality in Star Trek Beyond, some people just don't understand why characters need to be LGBT.
But LeFou's attraction to Gaston might actually inform the character in a way that the original never did. In Beauty and the Beast, LeFou basically just follows Gaston around and does his bidding. His character was never really explored, and it seems a bit crazy that he'd be willing to hunt down and kill The Beast just because his hairy buddy told him to.
Having LeFou actually have much deeper feelings for his best friend actually makes much more sense. He's willing to help out his buddy in his quest for Belle, despite having his own feelings toward Gaston. Aside from adding moments of slapstick and comedy (Josh Gad's speciality), this character change may actually add another dynamic to Gaston's scenes with LeFou. Plus, it makes way more sense that LeFou would be willing to inspire an entire bar to sing about how great Gaston is.
Beauty and the Beast will arrive in theaters March 17, 2017.