Ewan McGregor has slammed the furore surrounding Disney’s first ever transparently gay character in Beauty And The Beast.
Speaking about Josh Gad’s character Le Fou during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, he said: ‘I think he is a gay character. It’s just like… he’s a gay character! It’s 2017, for f**k’s sake! You know?’
Colbert had asked if the gay scene did indeed exist in the film, mentioning ‘a little bit of controversy’ about Le Fou.
‘If you live anywhere near Alabama you should not go and see this film. What would Jesus think?’ Ewan McGregor responded sarcastically. ‘There’s a lot of gay sex in it. There’s a LOT of gay sex in this film.’
His comments came as it was revealed the studio had also postponed the film’s release in Malaysia due to backlash over the character – even after film censors said it had been approved with a minor cut involving the ‘gay moment.’
The country’s two main cinema chains said the movie, due to begin screening Thursday, has been postponed indefinitely. No reason has been given.
And Russia last week approved the movie but banned children under 16 from watching it.
Josh Gad, who plays Le Fou, recently spoke for the first time about his character – the bumbling sidekick of antagonist Gaston, played by Luke Evans.
Speaking at the world premiere of the movie in Hollywood recently, Josh said: ‘[Director] Bill Condon did an amazing job of giving us an opportunity to create a version of Le Fou that isn’t like the original, that expands on what the original did, but that makes him more human and makes him a wonderfully complex character to some extent.
‘It’s an incredible moment and it’s subtle, but I think it’s effective.’
Exact details of the plot alteration have not been revealed so as to avoid spoiling the movie, but director Bill Condon recently described one scene as offering a ‘nice, exclusively gay moment’.
He said: ‘LeFou is somebody who on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston.
‘He’s confused about what he wants. It’s somebody who’s just realizing that he has these feelings. 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. But it is a nice, exclusively gay moment in a Disney movie.’
Beauty and the Beast (From “Beauty and the Beast”/Official Video)
Josh took to Twitter shortly after the news of his character’s sexuality was announced on Wednesday to reply to a fan who had asked him to confirm the news.
Quoting the tweet which included a link to an article, Josh simply said: ‘Beyond proud of this.’
In the new version, Emma Watson plays leading lady Belle, voiced in 1991 by Paige O’Hara, while Dan Stevens will be the Beast, succeeding Robby Benson.
Other cast members include Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Evans, Gad, Kevin Kline and Emma Thompson.
Ewan McGregor, 45, voices the animated candlestick character Lumiere in the movie, admitting to Colbert he had trouble with his French accent.
‘I just sort of swanned into it without much thought,’ he said. ‘Because I’ve been living with a French woman – my wife for 24 years – I thought I’d had the accent but I couldn’t do it.
‘It sounded like it was south of the American border.’
Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” – US Official Final Trailer