A new teaser for Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast shows the cast at a dinner party presented by Beast (Dan Stevens) at the behest of his beauty, Belle (Emma Watson). At first glance, bringing Beast out of his shell seems to be all that’s going on in the scene, but much like the rest of the film and, surprisingly, the animated movie that preceded it, there’s much, much more going on. Beauty and the Beast speaks in metaphors throughout the story, and as Disney’s first gay kiss makes its way into the spotlight, stars Emma Watson and Dan Stevens talk about what it all really means.
Beauty And The Beast Teases A Dinner Party, A Gay Kiss, And A Sexual Identity Crisis
Belle only has Beast’s best interests in mind when she urges him to throw a dinner party, but, as Us Weekly shares, the teaser reveals that much more is going on here than a buffet and a dance. In preparation for the event, Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson), and Plumette (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) all pitch in to prepare Beast for the big night, throwing advice left and right at the gentle giant, giving him tips on how to smile and how Emma Watson’s Belle should be regarded throughout the evening.
Meanwhile, clever Belle is busy plotting her own evening, which involves escaping from the castle.
While the teaser does offer Beauty and the Beast fans their first good glimpses of Beast’s collection of animated household items, servants forced to endure their master’s curse along with him, the magic of that moment soon gives way to another first for Disney.
Seeking to add diversity and an acceptance of the LGBTQ community in general, a bromance (and possibly something more) was teased, as Gaston (Luke Evans) and LeFou (Josh Gad) seemed to have an evolving relationship. Speaking strictly from LeFou’s point of view, that Beauty and the Beast character seems particularly smitten with Gaston, singing his praises and looking at him in much the same way that Belle will eventually look at Beast.
“LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston,” Beauty and the Beast director Bill Condon says. “He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings.”
What Is Beauty And The Beast Really About?
Sometimes it’s surprising to find that a story is a metaphor for something else, and as the film’s stars share, that’s just the case with Beauty and the Beast, both as the upcoming live action movie and the previous Disney animation. Daily Mail reports that Emma Watson is very open to understanding just why Belle and Beast appeal to the LGBTQ community as a whole. The actress suggests that the fictional couple’s romance in Beauty and the Beast is representative of the stigma non-traditional couples still face in modern society.
“I think it was really important actually for Dan and I to develop and understand why each of our characters feel like they don’t fit in,” says Watson. “I certainly felt watching the original that I wanted to know more about why Belle feels that she’s different and why she wants to be different and why she’s naturally different.”
Dan Stevens adds that Beauty and the Beast tackles issues of persecution and prejudice, particularly in the way that Belle is presented as an outcast from the very beginning of the film. She doesn’t comply with society and is seen trying to fight the system at every turn, prompting the rest of the villagers to label her a freak. Stevens adds that his own Beauty and the Beast character is equally ostracized, though more for his appearance than for his actions.
This isn’t the first time the story of Beauty and the Beast was analyzed with an LGBTQ perspective. For the 1991 animation, lyricist Howard Ashman noted that the story seemed to be a metaphor for AIDS and for those afflicted with the HIV virus.
“Specifically for him it was a metaphor for AIDS. He was cursed and this curse had brought sorrow on all those people who loved him and maybe there was a chance for a miracle and a way for the curse to be lifted,” Condon says of Ashman’s view of Beast.
Speaking specifically of his own Beauty and the Beast live action film, Bill Condon says LeFou is confused by his feelings, because he both admires and desires Gaston in ways that don’t quite make sense. Condon hints that this may lead to another first for a Disney film.
“It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. And Josh [Gad, who plays LeFou] makes something really subtle and delicious out of it,” says the Beauty and the Beast director. “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.”
Beauty and the Beast will premiere in theaters on March 17.
[Featured Image by Walt Disney Studios]