‘Beauty And The Beast’ Composer Alan Menken Calls LeFou’s Sexuality ‘Utter Non-Issue’
The composer behind Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is taking issue with how some media outlets are portraying a character in the film as openly gay.
Disney Legend Alan Menken told ComicBook.com that LeFou, played by Josh Gad in the upcoming live action remake, isn’t “pining” for the film’s villain as the song “Gaston” might make it appear.
“You know, I don’t see him pining,” Menken was quoted as saying. “To me, he has always been look(ing) up to Gaston, in a nerdy kind of way.”
“I know there’s been this whole discussion, which is to me, absolutely absurd. It’s just nuts. As far as I can tell, some journalist in England decided to make it his cause célèbre to push this agenda. And it’s really not really part of the movie in any overt way at all… any more than it was in the original. To me, it’s an utter non-issue. And I’d appreciate people realizing that it’s a non-issue because it’s just silly. But that’s journalism, and I understand.”
LeFou’s sexuality has been making headlines since the film’s director, Bill Condon, recently told the British magazine Attitude that LeFou has “a nice, exclusively gay moment” in the film.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Condon was quoted as saying. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings.”
However, Condon has since tried to lower expectations.
“It’s part of a celebration of love,” he told Variety last week. “But I don’t want people to think it’s more than it is and be disappointed.”
In an interview with People, Gad called the moment “subtle, but incredibly effective.”
Actress Emma Watson, who plays Belle, used the same word.
“It’s incredibly subtle, and it’s kind of a play on having the audience go, ‘Is it, or is it not?’” Watson told Entertainment Weekly on Sirius XM. “I think it’s fun. I love the ambiguity there.”
Word of the “exclusively gay moment” has prompted a backlash against “Beauty and the Beast” in right-wing circles, with one theater in Alabama refusing to show the film.
So how “exclusively gay” is that moment? HuffPost has some spoilers here.
“Beauty and the Beast” opens on Friday with the original 1991 score by Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, who died of AIDS-related complications eight months before the film’s premiere. The remake also features new songs by Menken and lyricist Tim Rice.