by Graham Pierrepoint
The live action adaptation of Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast animation is starting to reach theaters, and it seems that some of the content has already caused a stir in some of the more conservative nations overseas. The movie, which will largely stick to the original adapted plot in the 1991 animated classic, has made a number of slight changes to mix things up – among them, a sub-plot regarding the character of Le Fou, played by Josh Gad, who in this version will be openly homosexual and will harbor a crush on lead villain Gaston, played by Luke Evans.
In Malaysia, the national film censorship board had declared that over four minutes of the movie was unsuitable for broadcast, and had in fact recommended that they be cut from the runtime. This footage, according to the board’s chairman in discussion with Reuters, contained what he termed to be a ‘gay moment’. It is clear that some of the elements in Disney’s latest adaptation, therefore, will not go down well with those considered more conservative. However, Disney has responded rather surprisingly, and all the more in support of artistic licence and of sexual freedom.
The studio, instead of allowing for the movie to be trimmed for the moment in question, will simply pull Beauty and The Beast from Malaysia entirely – a move which, while likely losing money for the studio, is a big swerve that was likely made to promote inclusivity and to protect the artistic intentions of those involved in the movie. In a world where anti-gay politics still run rife, it is refreshing to see that big corporations such as Disney still care enough about their viewers and who they represent to avoid offending them.
Beauty and The Beast – a lavish retelling of one of Disney’s biggest-ever hits - will reach theaters soon, and will star Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Ewan McGregor and Sir Ian McKellen in roles familiar to those who grew up with the original movie. It is already proving to be somewhat successful with critics, and while it may not have the highest approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes – currently sitting at 67% - it is supposedly doing enough to captivate audiences and to honor its source material. Will it be a smash hit? Find out what we have to say about the movie very soon in our dedicated movie reviews section!