It probably seems like a million years ago, but if you can remember the year 2017, you might remember this bizarre factoid: Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast inspired a bizarrely retrograde controversy. No, it wasn’t that you could barely see New CGI Lumiere’s face. It was a moment towards the end when it was revealed a minor character, namely Josh Gad’s LeFou, was gay — indeed, was Disney’s first openly LGBTQA+ character. Again, this happened in 2017, not even three years back. Gad weathered a huge backlash from a portion of the country. But now, Gad claims, it was actually his idea in the first place.
As per The Hollywood Reporter, the Book of Mormon original cast member — and, recently, near-Penguin — was on the Sirius show Radio Andy, hosted by Andy Cohen. While there he waxed nostalgic about a crazy time in his life, whose considerable dust has by now all but settled. Finally no longer besieged by homophobes, he freely reflected on playing the character, i.e., the bestie of Luke Evans’ villainous Gaston. LeFou is a little too enamored of his friend, but that didn’t mean he deserved a similarly grim fate.
“Here’s what we decided, we decided that LeFou’s happy ending would be to dance with another man,” Gad revealed. “It was my pitch, that’s how I really wanted the movie to end.” He added, “I was so amazed they let us do it.”
Again, this moment, while praised by some, was demonized by others. “That became such a controversial thing, apparently, even though it was only three seconds of screen time,” Gad reflected. “We never put a spotlight on it. We never meant to put a spotlight on it. It became a conflated, weird controversy.”
One person who did like it was Bill Condon, the film’s director, as well as anyone still not living in a bygone era. “In light of that fact that so many people were like, ‘Blah, blah, blah,’” Gad said, “there were so many people who stood up and applauded that moment and were so excited about it.”