CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Disney's upcoming "Beauty and the Beast" has been promoted as faithful live-action remake of the 1991 animated classic, but moviegoers familiar with the original will find several noticeable differences.
There are a number of fresh songs, some different lyrics and a few characters we haven't met before. More significantly, however, director Bill Condon ("Chicago") has included a new detail about Gaston's sidekick, LeFou.
"LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston," Condon told Attitude magazine in its latest issue.
In the original animated version, LeFou dotes on Gaston, carrying his mirror for him wherever they go. LeFou even sings his praises in one of the film's most rousing songs, "Gaston."
While the original lyrics ("No one's slick as Gaston / No one's quick as Gaston / No one's neck's as incredibly thick as Gaston's / There's no man in town half as manly Perfect, a pure paragon!") could certainly be interpreted as gay, LeFou and Gaston's relationship is portrayed as straight and platonic.
The director says that changes in the new film, which features Josh Gad ("Frozen") in the role of LeFou.
"He's confused about what he wants. It's somebody who's just realizing that he has these feelings," Condon told the 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."
Gad confirmed the storyline on Twitter, saying he is "beyond proud" to portray the first gay character in a Disney classic story.
"Beauty and the Beast" opens in theaters March 17.
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