Josh Gad suggested having his character LeFou dance with a man at the end of Beauty and the Beast.
Before the live-action musical remake was released in 2017, director Bill Condon revealed that Gad’s character LeFou, the comical sidekick to Luke Evans’s antagonist Gaston, would be Disney’s first-ever LGBTQ character and his storyline would conclude with a “nice, exclusively gay moment”.
In response, the conservative group The American Family Association called for a boycott of the movie, while the owners of a cinema in Alabama decided not to show it.
Speaking on Andy Cohen’s SiriusXM show Radio Andy on Monday, the Frozen actor revealed he came up with the idea to have LeFou dance with another man during the finale.
“That became such a controversial thing, apparently, even though it was three seconds of screen time. We never put a spotlight on it. We never meant to put a spotlight on it. I think our director Bill Condon was very proud of the moment… I think the movie speaks for itself and the moment speaks for itself,” he said.
“It was my pitch, I really felt like that’s how I really wanted the movie to end. I was so amazed they let us do it. But again, we never meant to shine a spotlight on it, we wanted the audience to see it and take away what they would, and it became a conflated, weird controversy. When people realised what it was, everybody was like, ‘Oh this is silly.'”
Despite the controversy, Gad and his co-star Evans were proud of the response and he hopes there will be better LGBTQ representation in Disney films in the future.
“We were so proud of the response because, in light of that fact that so many people were like, ‘Blah, blah, blah,’ there were so many people who stood up and applauded that moment and were so excited about it,” the 38-year-old added. “I think that there is still lots more work to be done in equal representation, and I really hope that Disney keeps finding more ways to do that.”
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