The live action version of Disney’s popular animated film, “Beauty and the Beast,” has been a box office hit – but not without some gay controversy. The LeFou character (actor John Gad) dances with another male at the end of the film, causing a drive-in theater in Alabama not to screen it. The Henagar Drive-In theater stated in a Facebook post that its operators are “first and foremost Christians” and will not compromise on what the Bible teaches. They said they would continue to show family-oriented films so that customers could watch wholesome movies.
So there you have it. Not to mention Russia’s restriction to keep children from under 16 from seeing it – for the same reason.
Openly gay and legendary actor Ian McKellen, who plays the Cogsworth character, had this to say: "For people to complain about it and say they don't want children to see it is absolute rubbish. I know people who don't like gay people and make a fuss. It's a very small moment in the movie, no one should get too excited."
Apparently it has had no effect on the box office. The film set records on its first weekend release.
"There's all kinds of diversity within the world, and we have it in this film," said Audra McDonald, who plays the wardrobe. "In the end, the film is about seeing past anyone's surface and looking on the inside. It's not only about learning to love someone else, but it's about learning to love yourself – and that's deeply human, and we all feel that no matter who we are or who we love.” She stressed that the movie is about acceptance.
Well, Disney has caused a minute sector of world-wide movie goers to blow a gasket. First they cast an openly gay septuagenarian, and then they have a minor male character dance with another male. Shocking beyond belief.
English born Sir Ian McKellen (b. 1939) is perhaps the most famous openly gay actor who has played more straight than gay characters. His work is known to generations of movie, TV and theater-goers. During the 1960s he began his career as a classical actor specializing in Shakespeare. Six decades later, he is playing King Lear during the 2017 season of the Chichester Festival Theatre.
Although he began a modest film career in 1969, it was not until he appeared in several Hollywood blockbusters that he was introduced to an entirely new generation of movie-goers. The X-Men and Lord of the Rings franchises of the early 2000s and the more recent Hobbit films have brought world-wide fame.
Sir Ian came out publicly on BBC television in 1988, just shy of his fiftieth birthday. Since then, he has been involved as an activist for multiple LBGT rights issues. He freely uses his name recognition to advance international causes that could use a boost.
McKellen was knighted twice. In 1991 he was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (which granted him the use of the title “Sir”) and again in 2008 for services to the performing arts, becoming a part of the Order of the Companions.