2017 heralds the arrival of the latest live-action adaptation of the Disney classic starring Emma Watson as Belle, however, the latest announcement from director Bill Condon tells us that there is going to be a bit of a diversion from the original animated version which will give visibility to the LGBTQ+ community for the first time ever in a Disney film.
Disney is calling it their first “exclusively gay moment” on film, where there will be a whole sub-plot to the main love story between Belle and the Beast, involving LeFou (Josh Gad), who will be trying to confront and deal with his changing feelings of lust and admiration for Gaston (Luke Evans).
Even though the animated version of Beauty and the Beast released in 1991, showed LeFou’s character as emasculated comparatively to Gaston, admiring to the same extent as the women who fawned over Gaston and the existence of multiple fan theories that Gaston’s bullish arrogance and dismissal of Belle veils deep rooted insecurities over his sexuality, the announcement from Bill Condon has still come as a shock to many.
Fans have been calling for Disney to show more LGBTQ+ characters and storylines for years, and for many this is a breakthrough moment for cinema, Disney and the LGBTQ+ community. Social acceptance and changing attitudes are intrinsically linked to representation in the media and popular culture, therefore this bold move from Disney could signal a huge moment for social change.
On the other hand, not everybody sees the need for this alteration to the storyline. Some people are seeing it as a push by Disney to gain popularity by including a subplot that is simply extraneous and unnecessary, which devalues the action of increasing visibility of LGBTQ+ characters by just creating a homosexual character that will really add no value to the film in any way.
It is obviously hugely dependent on how Bill Condon and Disney have chosen to portray the homosexual feelings LeFou (Josh Gad) will have for Gaston (Luke Evans), and whether his struggle of dealing with his feelings is dealt with seriously or made into some kind of comedic caricature.
This latest announcement has demonstrated that on March 17th when Beauty and the Beast comes out there will be far bigger and more complex issues at play than Emma Watson’s singing ability or the apparent controversy of the Beast’s supposedly ‘surprising ugliness’.
Media sourced from Movie Fone & Screen Rant