Cast, director address criticism, uproar over issue


HOLLYWOOD –Disney’s live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” has a gay character and it didn’t sit well with people in an American state and in two countries.

The movie has been banned from being shown in an Alabama theater while a Russian lawmaker wants the movie barred from being shown in his country if it violates a law prohibiting gay propaganda targeting children.

Parents in Hong Kong are protesting the introduction of the gay character as “too early” for children.

In “Beauty and the Beast”, Le Fou (portrayed by comedian Josh Gad) has “an exclusively gay moment” with Gaston (played by Luke Evans).

Gaston is an ardent suitor of Belle (played by Emma Watson) but Belle falls for Beast, portrayed by Dan Stevens.

Bill Condon, who is openly gay and director of the movie, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “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’s a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”

Condon, who megged “Dreamgirls” and two “Twilight” movies, said Gad’s gay character is “so sublte” that moviegoers wouldn’t even notice it.

Gad, whose character is the center of criticism, said in a separate interview, “What I hope is that one day, something like this isn’t even a story. It’s taking away from a lot of elements of this film. At the core of this movie is the theme of never judging a book by its cover, right? Which applies to a lot of things.”

“This idea of getting to understand someone who may look and act differently … if you get to know him, maybe he’s not as dangerous or as fearful as he appears—that’s what I hope people take out of this,” added Gad, who voiced Olaf in the animated feature “Frozen”.

Watson, for her part, said, “The film represents the diversity of every society. It’s important to represent everyone. The other thing I would say is, watch it and then form an opinion.”

Meanwhile, Evans said, “Do not judge a book by its cover—that is a broad phrase that can be related to so much. It was there in 1991, and it’s here in 2017. It is as relevant, poignant and powerfully delivered in this film as it was then.” Luke has been out as gay for years. GAC/Expat Media


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