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In Bill Condon's Beauty and the Beast, the two greatest scene-stealers are arguably neither the titular leads nor any of the anthropomorphic housewares. Instead, it's really Luke Evans' Gaston and Josh Gad's LeFou, who have a wonderful, hilarious dynamic even as they plot downright evil machinations. This is best encapsulated in a sequence when the latter tries to get the former to go to his "happy place" in order to calm down -- but what makes the moment even better is the fact that it was completely improvised by the stars.
The scene in question has LeFou whisper calming thoughts to Gaston about explosions, blood, and lots and lots of widows -- and it was a moment that I appreciated so much that I felt the need to ask the actors about it. I sat down with Luke Evans and Josh Gad earlier this month at the Los Angeles press day for Beauty and the Beast, and while I initially asked Evans about that line potentially highlighting a recognition of villainy in Gaston, it was at the end of his response that the actor mentioned that my favorite funny moment in the film came off the cuff. Said Evans,
I didn't want him to be a villain at the beginning. He's someone who you laugh at- he has these ridiculous lines. He's the most self-absorbed human being I've ever laid eyes on. And the fact that he's suffering a little bit from PTSD, and where he was most comfortable was on a battlefield, and winning battles, and being revered for it. So that's what LeFou knows, and that's his trigger. 'Keep calm and think back to the war.' That was an improved line, it was an improvised moment between the two of us. We came up with that.
Speaking of improvisation, Josh Gad and Luke Evans wound up doing some as the interview continued, as I followed up by asking them about the amount of freedom they were given as the cameras were rolling. According to the pair, they are actually the people responsible for one of Beauty and the Beast's most beloved musical numbers. You can watch their great back and forth in the video below:
I'm not going to lie and say it doesn't make me wonder what kind of potential a prequel story about Gaston and LeFou would have as a big screen story.