Almost five years after the release of the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” film, Josh Gad is opening up about his portrayal of LeFou and why he doesn’t think the character “did justice to what a real gay character in a Disney film should be.”
LeFou, who also appeared in the 1991 animated film, is the effusive sidekick to villain Gaston. Gad’s interpretation hinted at the character’s sexuality. During the group dance in the movie’s final scene, LeFou has a woman as his dance partner before he starts gliding across the ballroom floor with a man.
Looking back at the character and the scene, Gad told the Independent in an interview published Saturday that LeFou “didn’t go far enough to warrant accolades.”
Gad explained, “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.”
The actor continued, "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. That was not LeFou.”
After reiterating that “Beauty and the Beast” should have gone further "if we're going to pat ourselves on the back," he concluded, “Everybody deserves an opportunity to see themselves on screen, and I don’t think we’ve done enough — and I certainly haven’t done enough to do that.”
Prior to the remake’s release, director Bill Condon had teased that the film would explore LeFou’s sexuality.
Condon spoke about the “exclusively gay moment” in an interview with Attitude at the time. The director shared that LeFou was a character who wavered between wanting to kiss Gaston, played by Luke Evans, and wanting to be him.
“It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings,” he told the British magazine. “And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its payoff at the end, which I don’t want to give away. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
However, Condon did not describe LeFou as the first Disney gay character to The Associated Press.
“I keep saying it’s more like the first gay moment,” he explained to the AP at the film’s Los Angeles premiere. “Because I think it’s a very fluid character.”
The AP also spoke with Gad at the premiere and he said he was “very proud” of the scene.
TODAY has reached out to Disney and Condon for comment.
Last month, Variety reported that Disney+ decided to postpone its “Beauty and the Beast” prequel series starring Gad and Evans. The eight-episode show was set to film this summer.
In a follow-up tweet, Gad added, “But… we truly hope we get to make it when our schedules allow.”