Watch: Disney Will Have Its First Openly Gay Character in 'Beauty & the Beast'

Thursday March 2, 2017

From Jafar to the relationship in "Frozen" to Ursula (whose appearance was inspired by iconic drag queen Divine) and more, queerness in Disney films has always been in the foreground. But the Mouse House is about to make things explicit with its upcoming live-action remake of "Beauty and the Beast."

In a new interview with Attitude magazine, director Bill Condon revealed LeFou, played by Josh Gad, will be gay and is in love with his best bud, the douchey Gaston, played by out actor Luke Evans.

"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon told the publication. "He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realizing that he has these feelings. It is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."

The filmmaker went on to say LeFou being openly gay is a "watershed moment" for Disney.

"The studio is sending out a message that this is normal and natural - and this is a message that will be heard in every country of the world, even countries where it's still socially unacceptable or even illegal to be gay," he told Attitude.

Gad took to Twitter Wednesday to say he was "beyond proud" to play the role.

The Guardian notes the role is a tribute to Howard Ashman, the out playwright and lyricist who composed music for Disney's 1991 animated "Beauty and the Beast" and also "The Little Mermaid." Ashman died from complications from AIDS in 1991 just before "Beauty and the Beast" opened. He posthumously won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the film's title track.

When speaking with Attitude, Condon said Ashman saw the Beast's situation as a "metaphor for AIDS."

"He was cursed, and this curse had brought sorrow on all those people who loved him, and maybe there was a chance for a miracle and a way for the curse to be lifted," Condon explained. "It was a very, very concrete thing that he was doing."

Watch a clip from the new "Beauty and the Beast," which also stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, featuring Gad's LeFou below.

[H/T The Daily Mail]