In an interview with the magazine Attitude, "Beauty and the Beast" director Bill Condon has said that the character of LeFou, played by Carnegie Mellon grad Josh Gad ("Book of Mormon"; "Frozen"), will have "a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie."
An openly gay character is reported to be a first for Disney and is a dedication to the late lyricist Howard Ashman, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Mr. Ashman died before the animated film premiered in theaters.
Gad was asked by a Twitter follower to confirm the reports, and he tweeted, "Beyond proud of this."
The live-action "Beauty and the Beast" opens March 17, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens. Gad's LeFou is sidekick to the egomaniacal Gaston (Luke Evans).
"LeFou is somebody ... who's just realizing that he has these feelings," Condon tells Attitude. "And Josh makes something really subtle and delicious out of it. And that's what has its payoff at the end, which I don't want to give away."