Disney has been toying lately with hinting at gay characters in their blockbuster children's films such as Frozen, but apparently they're doing more than hinting in their latest.
The Daily Mail reports that the upcoming live-action remake of Disney's 1991 animated film Beauty and the Beast, this one starring Harry Potter alumna Emma Watson, is set to have the studio’s first "exclusively gay scene."
In the film, the manservant LeFou, played by Josh Gad (who is not gay), questions his sexuality after developing feelings for macho leading man Gaston, played by Welsh hunk Luke Evans.
In an interview with Attitude magazine, the film's director Bill Condon said,
"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. It is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."
In the original film, LeFou sings a song in a pub to cheer up his friend Gaston, a ladies’ man intent on winning Belle’s affection (see the video clip above). The lyrics begin, "No one’s quick as Gaston, no one’s neck’s as incredibly thick as Gaston’s. For there’s no man in town half as manly. Perfect, a pure paragon."
Condon added that the character LeFou is part of a "watershed moment" for Disney: "The studio is sending out a message that this is normal and natural – and this is a message that will be heard in every country of the world, even countries where it’s still socially unacceptable or even illegal to be gay."
In addition to inserting the aforementioned "exclusively gay" moment, Disney has also chosen to transform Watson's leading lady character Belle into more of a feminist, from a bookworm to an inventor.
It will be interesting to see whether and how these developments impact the film's box office figures.