Beauty and The Beast director explains why he decided to make LeFou gay

Bill Condon says that having Josh Gad's character LeFou struggle with his sexuality is exactly in the spirit of the original film: "It’s about looking closer, going deeper, accepting people for who they really are”

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It won’t hit cinemas until 17th March, but Beauty and The Beast’s “gay moment” between LeFou and Gaston is already ruffling feathers, so director Bill Condon has spoken out about his decision to include a gay character.

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Condon revealed that the live-action 2017 film will see LeFou (played by Josh Gad) struggle with his feelings for his best friend. On Monday, Russian cultural minister Vladimir Medinsky said that the country would consider banning the film as a result, but now Condon has explained why he decided to update the 1991 Disney story.

“I talked before about how we translate this into live-action. That means building out the characters. It’s also a translation to 2017, you know?” he said at a press conference, People reports. “And what is the movie about? What has this story always been about for 300 years? It’s about looking closer, going deeper, accepting people for who they really are.

 “And in a very Disney way, we are including everybody,” he continued. “I think this is for everybody, and on the screen we’ll see everybody. And that was important to me.”

And it seems as though it was pretty important to Josh Gad, who plays LeFou, too.

“Bill Condon did an amazing job of giving us an opportunity to create a version of LeFou that isn’t like the original, that expands on what the original did, but that makes him more human and that makes him a wonderfully complex character to some extent,” he said.

 Meanwhile, the film’s star Emma Watson has also had to defend herself after critics lambasted her decision to pose in a sheer blouse with her beasts semi-visible on the cover of Vanity Fair.

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Beauty and The Beast opens in UK cinemas on March 17th