Josh Gad Says Beauty and the Beast Remake “Didn’t Go Far Enough”

For those who don’t know or remember, 2017’s Beauty and the Beast was one of the first times Disney claimed to have their first openly gay character. According to director Bill Condon, Gaston’s sidekick Le Fou (Josh Gad) would represent this landmark for the company. He boasted Le Fou would have an “exclusively gay moment.” This moment amounted to a quick shot of Gad’s character dancing with a man and was mostly played for laughs. Throughout the film, Le Fou also follows Luke Evans’ Gaston worshipfully. Today, Saturday, February the 26th, Josh Gad spoke to The Independent about his role in the remake and what it represented for the LGBTQ community. Read an excerpt of what Gad had to say here:

“We didn’t go far enough to warrant accolades… We didn’t go far enough to say, ‘Look how brave we are.’ My regret in what happened is that it became ‘Disney’s first explicitly gay moment’ and it was never intended to be that. It was never intended to be a moment that we should laud ourselves for, because frankly, I don’t think we did justice to what a real gay character in a Disney film should be.”

Notably, the film’s director later expressed regret at “overblowing” the film’s LGBTQ representation. Gad hit the nail on the head, but I think Condon and the Disney company knew exactly what they were doing. Last year’s Raya and the Last Dragon was accused of queerbaiting in reference to the ambiguous relationship between Raya and her rival Namaari. Additionally, like many film studios and producers, Disney has a history of queer-coding its villainous characters like Ursula, Jafar, and Scar. Since the live-action Beauty and the Beast hit screens, it seems like Disney has had similar “first gay character(s)” in a film at least yearly. 2019’s Toy Story 4, 2020’s Onward, and 2021’s Cruella and Jungle Cruise are recent examples of this. This is a bizarre, oddly specific trend the company has been heading toward. Personally, I’m absolutely fine with movies representing different sexualities, and I don’t think it’s bad for kids to know they exist. I don’t expect every film and series to contain such characters, but I think it’s good to include them when they fit with the story. The Mitchells vs. The MachinesAtypical, and Euphoria are some recent examples of stories handling this topic very well. I also think it’s worth pointing out that none of these are Disney properties. They range in medium, demographic, and format, but none of them came from the Mouse House. 

Josh Gad Le Fou

And that’s because Disney continually embarrasses themselves with this desire to have their cake and eat it too. Look, have gay characters or don’t have them, but don’t do this. This is bad. It’s bad because it’s lazy, cheap, and extremely cowardly. Disney is afraid to offend its audience’s religious and conservative members but still wants to try and pander to the LGBTQ community. That’s why it doesn’t work: because they’re trying to straddle a fence when they should really just come down on one side or the other. It’s easy to understand why a vast corporation that only cares about money would do this, but it’s disgusting. As a Disney fan, things like this make it really hard to remain one. They’ve tried to ruin Star Wars, they’ve tried to copyright holidays, and they insist on making the most uninspired, artistically bankrupt choices if they think it’ll make them an extra buck. In short, we already knew all this. Nobody outside of the film’s production took Le Fou’s sexuality seriously because it wasn’t presented as such. Their first gay character is probably bisexual Luz Noceda, the protagonist of The Owl House. The first movie character I think is outwardly gay is MacGregor in Jungle Cruise. PersonallyI’m just relieved it wasn’t a character whose name literally means “the fool.” 

Comments (3)

February 27, 2022 at 9:28 am

I never watched this film in theaters. At first I was excited for it. But then the reviews came in and a friend told me it was incredibly long, had random extra scenes in it, and was just unnecessary. I ended up watching it on a flight. Terrible idea. It made the flight 4x longer than it was. Emma can’t sing to save her life.

Also, what exactly does “a real gay character in a Disney film should be” mean? Do gay people not look and act like other people? Does Josh think they are another species that should be distinguished merely on looks?

All in all, a terrible film and Josh Gad is absolute nutter.

    February 27, 2022 at 9:37 am

    I don’t mind Gad too much, although the degree to which he’s been absorbed into the Disney brand is bizarre. I completely agree about Watson’s singing, and what a shame. There are so many talented actresses out there who can sing. This is a role that absolutely requires a good singer. Thanks for reading and responding!

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