Josh Gad is known for his musical prowess as well as comedic timing, having originated to role of Elder Arnold Cunningham in The Book of Mormon as well as becoming known for voicing Olaf in Disney’s Frozen. Luke Evans is more known to American audiences as an action star, having become associated with the Fast and Furious franchise. Both have teamed up together to bring our Gaston and LeFou to life in Disney’s live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
Screen Rant sat down with Evans and Gad on press day, where we discussed the challenges of bringing the infamous duo to life, the recent update to the character LeFou, and what it was like for Evans to dive into the comedic realm with Gad.
Gentlemen, congratulations on the film. I am a huge fan of both of you guys. What were some of the challenges of bringing these characters to a live-action realm?
Josh Gad: I mean, I think we took the breath to start.
Luke Evans: We did, yeah.
Josh Gad: It was very misleading from the beginning. I’ll go first, I guess. The challenge really is honoring what came before, but bringing new life to it. You don’t just want to repeat the same thing that everybody grew up with. However, you can’t forget that which everybody loves because then you aren’t doing justice to their memory. So, it’s about that balance and it’s about, for me at least, it was about adding nuance to the character. Where Bill and I started was in the original film he’s sort of dumb as a box and in our film we wanted to make him dumb as a fox. So that he is sort of not what he seems in terms of his intelligence and he’s, I think, a little bit smarter, a little bit wiser, and also, he doesn’t just blindly follow.
He was so witty.
Josh Gad: Yeah, he’s witty.
Luke Evans: Quick. And that’s what is different.
Josh Gad: That’s what’s different.
Luke Evans: What I love about the new dynamic between Gaston and LeFou is that he’s not a walkover anymore. He’s not a doormat. He’s not the brunt of everyone’s jokes. In fact he’s, I’d say, he’s probably much cleverer than Gaston. He’s manipulating Gaston and maybe shows Gaston he’s trying to contain the monster in a way. I love that. It’s almost like, Gaston is as thick as a stick and stays that way for the whole film.
Josh, I have to ask you how does it feel for you to bring Disney into modern times with your take on LeFou?
Josh Gad: Well, I think that whole story has been so blown out of proportion to be honest. And, you know, it’s a shame that we have to have this conversation in this day and age. But, for me, I think what is so magical about this story is that, regardless of the time it’s set in, there are themes in it that are still as relevant today as they were when the book was first published. And this idea, the most important idea to me, is this idea of never judging a book by its cover. Now, more than ever, that is relevant. You have, you know, this character in Gaston who’s rallying all of these people to go and attack a being they’ve never met, that they’ve never seen before, and judging that creature before they get to know it. That to me is the relevance of it.
I totally agree with you 100%.
Josh Gad: But, you know, I’m so thrilled. Some of the responses that have been coming out like the Times. I don’t usually read reviews, but Luke was like, “You got it! See what they said!” That to me is so fun because you’re seeing that people are enjoying this new take as much as the old take. And it is a movie for everyone and I can’t wait for people to experience it.
Absolutely. It’s so great. Luke, to American audiences, you are known as a big action star. What was it like getting to flex your comedic muscle with Josh here?
Luke Evans: Well, that was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on a film set. Because…
Josh Gad: I’m saying this to Peter Jackson by the way. I’m saying this…
Luke Evans: Yeah. It was nice to make people laugh. Even playing the villain who ends up incredibly dark and monstrous, there are some very light and funny moments that I am responsible for and I love that. And learning comic timing from this genius was, you know, like a master class for me. It really was.
Josh Gad: I’m just going to record everything you say right now. Go to sleep to this. Yeah because this is great. This is great for my ego.
Luke Evans: It was. It was just a joy to do. And knowing that I was finding it as funny as the people behind the camera having a laugh. Listening to Bill Condon giggling at our scenes, you know, while we were shooting was a real gift. I love that bit.