Disney's Gaston was based on gay 'trade', Beauty and the Beast director reveals

We know thanks to the power of song that Beauty and the Beast's dishy antagonist Gaston has biceps to spare and every last inch of him's covered in hair - and now it seems we might have the sexual preference of one particular gay man to thank for it. As the world prepares for the Beauty and the Beast live-action remake to hit screens, Attitude's April issue is delving deep into the gay secrets and history of one of Disney's most-cherished fairytale films - and if the sight of Gaston ever did anything for you growing up, there might be more to it than you think. While lyricist Howard Ashman's battle with Aids inspired him to bring the character of the Beast to the fore, serving as a metaphor for the sorrow and suffering he was going through at the time, the late writer's personal experiences as a gay man apparently had another notable effect on the final look of the popular animation. The film's director, Bill Condon, reveals in our new issue that Ashman's preference for 'trade' - a slang term for masculine-looking and straight-identifying men who engage in a bit of man-on-man action on the downlow - was the basis for dishy douchebag Gaston, played by the equally dishy (and much less douche-baggy) Luke Evans in the upcoming live-action remake. We'll let this excerpt from our April issue cover feature illuminate you further...
Condon continues: "I'll tell you one other thing that's for sure, I'm not saying Howard Ashman liked rough trade, but Alan told me that both the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors and Gaston were based on, you know, trade." So the uber-masculine Gaston, with his bulging muscles and hairy chest, was the kind of man Ashman fantasised about? "Yeah, or had been with," says Condon. "Not the brightest but lovely, you know... That's a gay joke, that's a gay inside joke; that character, Gaston."
No wonder Beauty and the Beast has such a large gay following... The April issue of Attitude is out now. To buy in print click here, or subscribe at subscribeme.to/attitude. To buy a digital copy, visit pocketmags.com/attitude. More stories: Men of ‘Moonlight’ star in new Calvin Klein underwear campaign Paul O’Grady recalls the horror of the AIDS crisis in brand new Attitude Heroes podcast