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The stories have always been about a princess finding her prince, but Disney is finally embracing modern sexuality for 2017.
Disney will firmly mark a new era with a manservant exploring his sexuality in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, released later this month.
In an interview with Attitude magazine, director Bill Condon revealed that LeFou, played by Josh Gad, will have the “gay moment”, as he struggles with his feelings for the story’s villain, Gaston.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston. He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realising that he has these feelings.
“And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that’s what has its pay-off at the end, which I don’t want to give away.
But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.”
Editor-in-chief of Attitude, Matt Cain, commented: “It may have been a long time coming but this is a watershed moment for Disney.
“By representing same-sex attraction in this short but explicitly gay scene, 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.
“It’s only a first step towards creating a cinematic world that reflects the world in which many of us are now proud to live. But it’s a step in the right direction and I applaud Disney for being brave enough to make it – and in doing so hopefully helping to change attitudes and bring about real social progress.”
However, the news has received mixed reviews on social media, with some criticising the choice of LeFou, a clownish character, pining over a muscular, heterosexual male.
Beauty and the Beast is released in the UK on 17 March.