This trip was sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.
Yesterday we shared our amazing exclusive interview with Emma Watson and Dan Stevens about their roles in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Be sure to check it out. Today we are sharing our interviews with Luke Evans (who plays Gaston) and Josh Gad (who plays Le Fou). This was a really fun and entertaining interview. I enjoyed getting to know more about them and learning more about the Beauty and the Beast movie that comes out this friday!! Get your tickets now.
To start this press junket, we were able to watch Alan Menken play/sing a beautiful Beauty and the Beast Medley. At the end we were all surprised when Luke Evans and Josh Gad joined him and together they performed the “Gaston” song. I loved every minute of it. Of course, I LOVE Luke Evans voice, so this was a real treat. Watch the performance and see for yourself:
Wasn’t that awesome!!! I love how well they all work together and how much fun they have. And getting to see Alan Menken play and sing with them was a real treat. He is so talented and did an amazing job with the music in Beauty and the Beast.
When Josh and Luke came into the interview we had to tell them both thank you for the amazing job they did!
JOSH: The truth is, you don’t need to beg us to do a performance. Luke and I will sing at the drop of a coin. But it’s a problem, actually. I never thought I’d be someone who was so willing to sing for no reason at all. Until I met Luke Evans.
LUKE: We are literally cut from the same cloth.
JOSH: Yeah, we are.
I was secretly hoping for an encore here – but alas it didn’t happen.
Was there a lot of off screen trouble between the two of you?
JOSH: Still is. We like to –
LUKE: – Cause trouble wherever we go. But make people laugh in the process. It was just a lot of fun playing these characters. You know, first of all, we were massive, massive fans of the original. We were both kids when they came out. He was 10, I was 12. I was in South Wales, he was in South Florida. And the climate was rather different. It probably meant even more to me ’cause it was always dark and gloomy where I came from. So to go in and watch a Disney film in the little cinema in our village was the highlight of my year! Always was. And to bring them to life, we both felt very lucky. And we knew that we could have a lot of fun and laugh. And there were moments when some of the funniest moments we had, I think are things that we made up on the moment.
JOSH: Oh yeah. The first sequence when the two of us are riding in that wagon with Maurice. That whole idea of calming Luke down with stories about the war, was something that we literally came up with on the spot. Yeah, weirdoes and all that. And we had about like 30 variations of it. Some of them were even more insane than what you see on the screen. But you’re always hoping, when you get paired with somebody – and I’ve had a couple of those films that I’ve done, where it’s all about the chemistry between the two characters. And the day I met Luke, especially because I didn’t even realize we both came from musical theater.
JOSH: Luke from the West Side, me from Broadway. And so we have this common language and this common understanding. And this common goal of wanting to do justice to a movie that was so – I cannot stress this enough – so pivotal in our childhoods. The second golden age of Disney animation from LITTLE MERMAID to BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, to ALADDIN then to LION KING, defined my growing up. They really did. I was 10 years old when BEAUTY AND THE BEAST came out. And those Allen Menken, Howard Ashman songs, they really were the soundtrack to my childhood. And so bringing a song like Gaston to life, that’s like a dream come true. So it was incredible.
Luke, how did you feel when you tried on your Gaston costume for the first time?
JOSH: Oh, I can tell you, Luke with his body felt a lot better than I did. I can tell you right off the bat.
LUKE: I’ve always said, and I always will say, because I think it – a massive part of my creation of a character, especially somebody like Gaston – the look is half of his ego. You know, the hair and the fitted red leather. We went through about four or five incarnations of that leather jacket before we found the right color of blood red. That represented the sinister part of his nature. Because I don’t know if you noticed, but that red jacket which is obviously so synonymous with Gaston in the original. And it’s the same here. That only goes on when he puts Maurice into the carriage to lock him up. And that’s the first time you see it. And we made that conscious decision. When you put something on like that, there was so much work in it, those buttons all and antlers on each button. And I had a pinky ring which was an antler impressed into red stone. It was all antler themed, as you can imagine. It looked fantastic and you put the wig on and there you go. I remember taking it off on the last day and my hair and makeup lady’s like, “Okay, well, say goodbye to the final time you will see Gaston.” And she took it off, and I looked in the mirror and went, “Well, hello you.” And she was like, oh no. No. I was joking, obviously. But he was a hard character to let go. I think we both felt very sad to let them go. Because we’d had so much fun and brought so much happiness to villains, it is to make people laugh.
LUKE: Yeah, that’s quite a gift, you know, ’cause usually you just make them hate you. But we had the opportunity to do both.
LUKE: And they love you at the end. I mean, like full redemption.
JOSH: Well, no, and that was important, with Le Fou in particular. The character in the original movie is a product of cartoon conceits, right? He has his teeth knocked out. He’s literally thrown across rooms by Gaston multiple times. There is a part where snow falls on him and makes him a snowman. Which I tried. Which I fought to bring in the movie. And for me it was about adding dimension, I think for every character. About adding dimension. And one of the things that I really loved about Le Fou in this particular version is, he does have this interesting arc where he starts to question the blind devotion that he has to this person who, during the course of the film, turns into the real monster. And that was such an interesting thing to play. And again, we didn’t want to just literally recreate a movie that, in of itself is pretty perfect, right? You can’t do that. You have to add, you have to keep building on the legacy of that which everybody is awaiting and looking forward to. But also give them new surprises. And for us the new songs, the new moment, all of it adds up in its collective experience, that feels old in the best way. But also new in an amazing way. And that was so important to us.
What made you truly sign on to do this iconic movie?
JOSH: The money. It was one of those – no, honestly, I literally would have done this movie for nothing. And the reason I signed on was because it was so iconic. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST was my FROZEN. You know, like this was the movie I saw five times as a kid. You know what I mean? That was just recreating these moments, these iconic moments that I grew up with, knowing that my daughters are gonna grow up with this as hopefully their definitive version of the story.
LUKE: That psycho smile. (referring to the “Le Fou” face on the movie poster)
JOSH: With that – yeah, they looked at the first poster and they were terrified. Their response was like, the little kid seeing Jack Nicholson in THE SHINING for the first time where he is so creepy. But it is true, the other thing is, and I was saying this to Luke. I can’t think of a big screen musical, live action, that my kids have seen on the silver screen in their lifetimes. And that is unacceptable to me. Like coming from musical theater. But think about that. We’re not gonna take ‘em to MOULIN ROUGE, we’re not gonna take them to LES MIS. You can’t take ‘em to NINE. This is gonna be for many of your kids and my kids certainly, the first time they ever see a musical screen, that isn’t animated. That’s huge. That’s huge.
LUKE: My godchildren are very young and I’ve got lots of kids in my family, who are just a little tired of me doing movies that they can’t watch. So the day that I got offered it, the first thing I did was text all their parents and just say to them, “I’m gonna be in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, and they can finally come to the cinema.” And they all were at the London premiere. And weirdly, they were happy but also a little sad that I was the bad guy.
Was there any opportunity for you do any improv during the filming?
LUKE: Oh yeah.
LUKE: There were moments that I remember were on the cot in the forest, when there were lots of different versions of that.
JOSH: Yeah, the end of the Gaston song-
JOSH: I literally did about 30 different versions of that. And then the one that they chose was I’ve never practiced before. I just realized I’m illiterate. That was, every time we shot it –
JOSH: Every time we shot it, it was different. ‘Cause every time my goal was to make Luke laugh. We got him in trouble. But there were so many opportunities. There’s also a lot of stuff on the cutting room floor, that I hope you’ll see on the Blu-Ray and the Extras. Because there was some great scenes when we come into the village. Remember, when she’s in trouble and everyone – when Belle’s in trouble and we come in.
JOSH: It’s hero time. And we come in, and Gaston hands me his gun. And the gun goes off in my hand. And you just hear a cow die in the background. And it was such a funny moment.
LUKE: It was. Lovely excuse to have these two characters, where they just are the most blundering bunch of –
JOSH: My friend at the end of the movie, was – involved a toilet played by Stephen Merchant at one point. I mean, there’s so many great parts that hopefully you get to see one day.
Was there any parts that were challenging for you in your roles?
LUKE: The physicality of the fight sequence at the end was going to be demanding. Because it took a lot of stunt rehearsals and training. So I had to practice quite a few times on weekends once we finished – I came in and they had a big cherry picker which they would raise another six feet and then another. And I was on cables and I had to land, I had to jump and I just sort of reflect what the Beast was doing on another – tower, doing it in his beastly way. Where I am just a human being. So I have to find a way about doing it like Spiderman with long hair. I managed to get it by the time we shot it. But I think it was about a 42-foot leap that I do in the film with a cable. And it’s a trust exercise. I mean, you’re trusting – it’s not a stunt guy, you know, with your life. And it’s an interesting thing to do. But I found that quite challenging. But very rewarding. And thank god it’s in the film. They often don’t make the movie and then you’re really annoyed.
What is your favorite scene in the movie?
LUKE: It would have to be for me, the Gaston tavern sequence. For two reasons. One, my song. Two, it was the one piece of the whole film where we got to rehearse for four to five weeks. Because it was incredibly technical. So we had all the villagers in the room. There’s vignette stories going on which you have to watch it a few times to know that, all that took a lot of time. And honestly, the music was playing throughout the whole thing. And we have to get them onto tables. And there were swords, there were murals that we have to reflect in the back of each shot.
And it was a lot of stuff going on, which took time and development and collaboration and a lot of working it out. But that’s what we come from. We have come from the theater, we’re used to that rehearsal experience. And so to have that on a film, was a joy.
JOSH: Yeah, yeah. I agree. Not to sound redundant, but it is Gaston. You know, it’s so rewarding to watch an audience now, after two years of working on this in some capacity or another. To now share it with an audience. And see the adrenaline boost that it gives the film when all of a sudden, out of nowhere this up tempo song with people dancing on the table.
And you can feel the energy of the audience wanting to jump into that. And raise a glass to Gaston alongside of you. And that is the brilliance again of these Menken and Ashman songs, is they are so unbelievably addicting. And Luke and I have now been singing this song in one way or another, for –
LUKE: For two years, crazy.
JOSH: And yeah. And it’s not because we want to, it’s because we can’t stop. It’s because we are literally haunted by these songs.
LUKE: The other night when we had the world premiere here in Los Angeles people clapped at the end of our number. I mean, it’s crazy. We’ve done what we needed to do here. We are taking people out of the world in which we live, and made them escape into this wonderfully technical emotion of this story. Which we are really proud of.
This was such a fun interview and to hear them banter back and forth and see their friendship and making us laugh was unforgettable. I loved hearing about their sides of filming, their favorite things, their challenges and everything in between. We have more fun interviews coming up so be sure to check back over the next couple of weeks for all of them!
Here is the trailer for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast:
The story and characters audiences know and love come to spectacular life in the live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast,” a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most beloved tales ever told. “Beauty and theBeast” is the fantastic journey of Belle, a bright, beautiful and independent young woman who is taken prisoner by a Beast in his castle. Despite her fears, she befriends the castle’s enchanted staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s hideous exterior and realize the kind heart of the true Prince within. The film stars: Emma Watson as Belle; Dan Stevens as the Beast; Luke Evans as Gaston, the handsome, but shallow villager who woos Belle; Kevin Kline as Maurice, Belle’s father; Josh Gad as LeFou, Gaston’s long-suffering aide-de-camp; Ewan McGregor as Lumière, the candelabra; Stanley Tucci as Maestro Cadenza, the harpsichord; Audra McDonald as Madame de Garderobe, the wardrobe; Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Plumette, the feather duster; Hattie Morahan as the enchantress; and Nathan Mack as Chip, the teacup; with Ian McKellen as Cogsworth, the mantel clock; and Emma Thompson as the teapot, Mrs. Potts.
Directed by Bill Condon based on the 1991 animated film, “Beauty and the Beast,” the screenplay is written by Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos and produced by Mandeville Films’ David Hoberman, p.g.a. and Todd Lieberman, p.g.a. with Jeffrey Silver, Thomas Schumacher and Don Hahn serving as executive producers. Alan Menken, who won two Academy Awards® (Best Original Score and Best Song) for the animated film, provides the score, which includes new recordings of the original songs written by Menken and Howard Ashman, as well as three new songs written by Menken and Tim Rice.
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