The following may contain minor spoilers for Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast.
It's far from surprising that people are talking about Disney's next big live-action adaptation, Beauty and the Beast. However, the part that seems to be getting the most buzz is the fact that the film will debut the studio's first gay character. We know that Josh Gad's Le Fou will apparently be portrayed as gay in the new movie. Now, one of the film's other stars has spoken about the performance and what she likes most about it. Emma Watson says the beauty of the performance comes from the fact that it's actually quite subtle.
I think that what's so fantastic about Josh's performance is that it's so subtle. It's always like, does he idolize Gaston? Is he in love with Gaston? What's the relationship there? And I think it's incredibly subtle, to be perfectly honest... ' I think it's fun. I love the ambiguity there.
Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon revealed the information that Le Fou was being portrayed as gay in a magazine interview a couple of weeks ago. The information was met with a variety of different responses including one drive-in movie theater which announced it would not be screening the film due to the inclusion of a gay character.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly on Sirius XM, Emma Watson says that what she loves about the way Josh Gad plays the role is that he's not nearly as overt as many might expect. At no point does Le Fou specifically state how he feels about Gaston. It's all done via looks and gestures and veiled statements. It could simply be idol worship, as it seemingly was in the original animated feature, or there could be more to it.
Looking at the brief clip that's been released of one of the opening verses of the "Gaston" song, we see Josh Gad singing to his friend who's feeling badly. There's nothing here that makes it obvious that he's doing this for any reason beyond the fact that he wants his friend to feel better. At the same time, there is possibly an undercurrent of something more.
For those for whom a gay character is so offensive that they should not be shown on screen at a drive-in, subtly is not likely to be enough to make them happy. On the other hand, some might prefer a more overt performance for a film that has an "exclusively gay moment." The rest of the audience will be able to judge for themselves beginning this Friday.