When comes change, progression must follow.
It’s 2017. Disney have greenlit a handful of their classic animated features to be reworked into spectacular live action. With the tremendous success of Cinderella and The Jungle Book, why stop there? With the release of their latest, Beauty and the Beast, there has sadly been an enormous raincloud over the release of one of Disney’s most beloved classics.
In an interview with Attitude magazine, the director of Beauty and the Beast, Bill Condon, maybe should have brushed over minute details such as the sexual orientation of one of its characters. With helming projects such as Dreamgirls and the last two Twilight entries, Condon isn’t unfamiliar with campy projects. And you’d be forgiven if you class BATB as camp as they come — all singing, all dancing etc etc. Stating in said interview that “there is an exclusively gay moment” has sparked mass outrage and general unease in a handful of countries and has sadly followed the press tour for this Disney epic around like a bad mood.
Said “gay moment” was reported to occur between Josh Gad’s character Le Fou and the boorish villain Gaston, played by Luke Evans. With both director Bill Condon and actor Luke Evans being homosexual men personally i’m surprised there wasn’t more input to inject a genuine twist on the relationship between both characters. Belle’s feminist approach in the updated version injects a real life statement for women everywhere, so why should it stop there?
From the initial report that Beauty and the Beast featured some sort of homosexual encounter, reports have flown in from across the globe on certain parties own personal plans and agendas. An Alabama Drive-In has banned the film completely from its schedule as “they will not compromise on what the Bible teaches”. The Christian-owned cinema have stated, “If we cannot take out 11 year old granddaughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie, we have no business watching it. If i can’t sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting beside me then we have no business showing it”.
Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. A Russian lawmaker has vowed to ban the film for its depiction of a homosexual character, censors in Hong Kong have expressed outrage and disapproval, a bishop in Singapore felt it vital to inform his congregation of the film’s “homosexual content” and also vow to ban the feature, and currently in Malaysia there is an “internal review” occurring.
As the initial reports have flown in thick and fast, Russia have decided to class the film as 16+, an ADULT-RATING, as a Russian MP described the film as “a shameless propaganda of sin”. And even after said scene has been axed, the film has suspiciously disappeared from all schedules in Malaysia. Baffling, truly baffling.
It’s extremely disheartening and upsetting that in this day and age a film which contains so much warmth, heart and general inclusion that a film can be defined by one ridiculous moment that, after seeing the film itself, is barely noticeable and if anything is merely a campier depiction of the character Le Fou than was portrayed in the animated classic.
Boycotts around the globe continue as the release of the film has already garnered mass profit in its first few days. Reviews have wavered but the general consensus from fans has been a roaring success.
It’s been a discussion point for quite some time for Disney to include moments like this. They reached groundbreaking territory in 2009 when they featured their first African-American Princess Tiana, and again recently with Elena of Avalor, a Latino Princess, and another roaring success with 2016’s Moana, their first Polynesian female lead. And even more recently in the animated TV show airing on Disney XD is Star vs. the Forces of Evil where at a concert several couples were seen canoodling, some of which were lesbian and homosexual couples.
I fear after moving slowly but surely towards an actual modern approach, Disney may cower behind closed doors again after such backlash.
This disapproval and hate is entirely unwarranted and leaves me to ask Disney themselves if they should maybe rethink their distribution for their record-breaking Marvel titles. Karma is a bitch, after all.
Beauty and the Beast is in cinemas now.