Now it’s just roughly two weeks before Disney invites everybody to be a “guest” on the premiere of their live-action remake of “Beauty and the Beast”. Trailers and teasers have sampled scenes and songs that have been adapted, sometimes point-for-point, from the 1991 animation.

That’s a lot of hype being generated. But now a new bombshell has been dropped about the production and one of the characters that has stirred a lot of discussion and reaction, with news that LeFou, loyal sidekick to the overly chauvinistic and later malevolent antagonist Gaston, may just be a little bit queer.

Gay subplot for LeFou

Anyone who’s seen the animated “Beauty and the Beast” would recall that baddie sidekick LeFou was a diminutive clown who practically exists to hype up Gaston’s rep to the people of the small provincial town (save for Belle and her father). Live-action LeFou is, physically, nothing like his cartoon self, being portrayed by comedian

Live-action LeFou is, physically, nothing like his cartoon self, being portrayed by comedian Josh Gad whom Disney fans would know as the voice of Olaf from 2013’s “Frozen”. We get a glimpse of Gad in action from a snippet of the (memetic) crowd song “Gaston”, where he gleefully exaggerates stuff about his boss’s masculinity to cheer him up. Well Bill Condon, director of the remake, tells in an interview with “Attitude” gay lifestyle magazine that there may be more to LeFou’s listing of Gaston’s manly virtues than is obvious.

Condon says in the interview that LeFou’s lines in the song were a hint that he is “somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston.” The director went on to opine that LeFou is confused about what he wants, due to what appears to be a sudden and very recent realization of his feelings. He also praised Gad’s subtle acting along those lines and promises the movie to have a significant subplot and “gay” moment for LeFou, the first ever for a Disney children’s film.

From little subtext to big moments

Mind you, Disney has been slipping some queer hints for some of their characters in past productions. Perhaps the other more prominent case of this is Queen Elsa of “Frozen”, whose struggle to hide her ice powers and later feeling of liberation after fleeing her home (and freezing it in an eternal winter) were metaphors for the symbolic “closet”, being in and then coming out.

Beauty and the Beast” however will have a character – LeFou –being openly acknowledged to the audience as gay. This has caused some upheavals due to the varied opinions about the move by Director Condon. Whether it will be seen as a sincere LGBT tribute or a bad execution will be known when “Beauty and the Beast” premieres on March 17.

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