Gad starred in the film as LeFou, the long-suffering sidekick to Gaston (played by Luke Evans in the film). The movie’s director, Bill Condon, announced in USA Today ahead of the film’s release that his “Beauty and the Beast” would introduce Disney’s first openly gay character. Condon said Gad’s LeFou had “an exclusively gay moment” in the movie, but all that turned out to be was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot of LeFou dancing with a man.
“We didn’t go far enough to warrant accolades,” Gad said nearly five years after the film’s release. “We didn’t go far enough to say, ‘Look how brave we are.’ My regret in what happened is that it became ‘Disney’s first explicitly gay moment’ and it was never intended to be that. It was never intended to be a moment that we should laud ourselves for, because frankly, I don’t think we did justice to what a real gay character in a Disney film should be.”
Once the film opened in theaters, Condon and Gad were widely criticized for patting themselves on the back when the movie contained virtually no gay moment whatsoever. Gad told USA Today at the film’s 2017 premiere that while the script did not confirm LeFou is gay, he was “honored” to have the chance to deepen the character in the live-action version.
“What was most important to me was taking a character that is wonderful and so iconic, but is defined by cartoon conceits in the (original) movie…and expanding on that, giving him dimension, making him human,” Gad said at the time. “I’m honored to have that [exclusively gay] moment as part of my character’s arc.”
Gad now told The Independent about playing a gay LeFou, “That was not LeFou. If we’re going to pat ourselves on the back, then damn it we should have gone further with that. Everybody deserves an opportunity to see themselves on screen, and I don’t think we’ve done enough — and I certainly haven’t done enough to do that.”
Variety reported earlier this month that Gad’s LeFou-starring “Beauty and the Beast” prequel series was being put on hold at Disney Plus. The series was to reunite Gad with Luke Evans in a prequel about LeFou and Gaston’s adventures. The series is postponed for an undetermined amount of time due to creative and scheduling issues.