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When we think of movies that require a lot of dangerous stunts or action sequences, Disney's classical fairytale-based movies don't often come to mind. Even the new live-action versions of popular films like Beauty and the Beast employ a lot of CGI, and not a ton of stuntwork is involved. Regardless, during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, Josh Gad, who plays LeFou, revealed that his work on Beauty and The Beast was a lot tougher than you might guess, for one reason: the horses. In fact, he said he very nearly killed Emma Watson while filming the blockbuster movie.
My horse, his name was Buddy, which was a misnomer because he is a bastard. He literally threw me off his back the first day. Then, Luke [Evans] and I had to ride to the village on these horses to sing "Belle" the song. All we had to do is take three steps. Luke's horse does it perfectly. My horse--this is not a joke, people can attest to this--moonwalked backwards. Then ran through the villagers, ran. Emma's [screaming] like, 'No!' Everybody's like, 'No, Hermione, no!' Then the trainer, the horse trainer, literally tears in his eyes comes up to me and says, 'I'm so sorry, I've never seen that happen before.'
Clearly, Josh Gad was never truly comfortable on his horse, Buddy. At one point during the interview, the actor cracked a joke about how Jews should never ride horses, referring to his ineptitude. The real trouble occurred when he was supposed to ride in on a horse next to a mounted Luke Evans, who was far more comfortable with riding than Gad. Instead of moving forward, his horse took several steps backwards and then bolted, nearly plowing into Emma Watson. While it's kind of hilarious to think of Watson screaming in the chaos that ensued, it's also quite a bit terrifying to think of what could have happened if the horse had chosen to take a slightly different path.
Working with animals always increases the level of unpredictability on a given set. As the trainer even noted to Josh Gad, he'd never seen the horse bolt like that before. While a lot of the creatures in Beauty and the Beast were CGI'd into the film, the movie is set in France during the time when the plague was still around, and cars wouldn't really have worked in that scenario. Unfortunately, a lot of actors--Gad included--don't have a ton of experience when it comes to working with horses. Horses can tell when their riders aren't comfortable, and that could be what happened on the Beauty and the Beast set.
Regardless, Josh Gad told Jimmy Fallon that all was well that ended well. You can hear more about the horses with the full Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon clip. The filming of "Belle" resumed and should be one of the highlights of Beauty and the Beast when it hits the big screen on March 17. To find out what else is heading to theaters soon, take a look at our full movies release guide.