Director Bill Condon opens up on the reason why they took the creative liberty to tweak the characterization of LeFou from the original Beauty and the Beast animated film from 1991 to the recent live-adaptation movie. The character, who was played by Josh Gad in the Emma Watson/Dan Stevens-starrer, takes in a more dignified personality compared to his animated counterpart.
While Beauty and the Beast stuck to its source material fairly strictly, it also took on a few changes regarding some specifics of the film in order to make it more relative and sensible. Among all the partakers, LeFou is arguably the character that has undergone the most significant changes. And Condon has a reasonable reason for specifically choosing him to be updated for the new film.
Condon explains in the additional behind-the-scenes footage from the movie's Blu-Ray copy, that the main driving force to change things up for Gad's LeFou is because the character in the original Beauty and the Beast film is nothing but gag tool for Gaston:
"He's sort of a punching bag [in the animated film] and that just is not credible in live-action, to have Josh Gad getting punched every 10 seconds."
Gad, for his part, adds that the changes made were geared towards the idea of making a supporting character like LeFou as humanly as possible and not just a mindless sidekick:
"There's a lot of crazy physical comedy that I don't necessarily think translates to this version of the film. So it was about figuring out, how do we change things up, how do we make him more human? That came with a question of conscience for me. This idea of false worship. What does that look like? If a guy who he's admired for all these years without questioning is doing things that he has to bring into question, I think that creates conflict and that creates for a more interesting, three-dimensionalized version of this character."
Aside from pulling away from LeFou's slapstick character, the live-action Beauty and the Beast has also confirmed his sexual orientation. In the original iteration of the story, questions in regard to the character's blinding loyalty to Gaston despite his maltreatment of him has raised theories that maybe LeFou was in love with his so-called friend. This has been answered in the recent movie iteration which highlights LeFou the first openly gay character in all of Disney's properties.
Translating a property from other media to the big screen may seem to be an easy task. But in reality, there are a lot of things to consider plot and characterization-wiser. Beauty and the Beast, in particular, had the task to not just adapt the iconic love story of Belle and the Beast but also make its overall narrative up-to-date in a way that it makes sense in the modern day world.
Beauty and the Beast is now available on Blu-ray and digital.