Josh Gad Will Play Disney’s First-Ever Gay Character in Beauty and the Beast

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Gaston and LeFou. Photo: Laurie Sparham/Disney Enterprises

In reimagining a Disney animated classic as a live-action update, the studio is also using the opportunity to make some overdue history. Attitude reports that in the new Beauty and the Beast Josh Gad’s LeFou will be Disney’s first-ever openly gay character. Director Bill Condon introduced the change in honor of the late Howard Ashman, who won a posthumous Oscar for his lyrics in the original film after he died of AIDS. (Ashman’s partner Bill Lauch gave a memorable acceptance speech on Ashman’s behalf.) Condon says Ashman saw the Beast’s ostracism from Belle’s village 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 explains of the original film’s hidden symbolism. “It was a very, very concrete thing that he was doing.”

In Condon’s version, LeFou will wrestle with his sexuality through being a sidekick to Gaston. “LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Condon says. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. 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.” Responding to fan appreciation of the news, Gad says he’s “beyond proud of this.”

Josh Gad’s LeFou in Beauty and the Beast Will Be Gay