Let me set the scene for you on the day we interviewed Luke Evans (“Gaston”) and Josh Gad (“Le Fou”).
Sunday, March 5th – it was kick-off day to our Beauty and the Beast press junket. We had the unbelievable opportunity that morning to listen to Disney Legend Alan Menken play the piano and sing some of the Beauty and the Beast songs. As we were enjoying this incredible music presentation, out of nowhere, Alan Menken invited Luke and Josh out with him to sing GASTON!! It was – in a word – UNREAL! We got to see Alan, Josh and Luke sing and laugh and perform! I sat there with my jaw to the ground, and it was the coolest way to start the day! Honestly – I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was shaking, but I was able to get a photo!
I’m still grinning as I look at this photo! They were awesome!
I had had the opportunity to see Beauty and the Beast the night before the press junket, so I had already experienced Luke and Josh in true action. I saw Luke as Gaston and I saw Josh as Le Fou. Their performances were incredible. I truly need to give them a blogging standing ovation, I was just that dazzled by them. The second they entered the room for our interview, we ALL started clapping. They were so appreciative of our mom blogging love, which made it very endearing. Honestly, Luke Evans actually blushed a little when we started clapping – talk about adorable!
What struck me immediately was the chemistry between Josh and Luke. Obviously they spend a ton of time together in the movie, but it was really cool to see these two guys as friends. And truthfully, it seemed like good friends. We thanked them immediately for the awesome performance earlier with Alan, and Josh jokingly responded, “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.
Talk about making us laugh right off the bat!
Vera joked back by saying to them, “I feel like there was a lot of off-screen trouble between the two of you!”
Luke laughed, “We like to 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. You know, we were both kids when it 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, we made up on the moment.”
I loved hearing what Josh said about being part of Beauty and the Beast. It really made me tear up a bit because I completely understood what he was saying.
“We [he and Luke] 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 Alan 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.”
Just as we asked Emma Watson and Dan Stevens about their costumes, we were anxious to hear what Luke and Josh had to say about theirs, especially “Gaston.” We see Gaston in this movie as this man of all men. He’s strong. He’s handsome. He’s the man everyone one wants, but Belle! It’s funny because we all “know a Gaston” in our lives, right!!?? I loved hearing Luke give his opinion, “I’ve always said, and I always will say, because I think it is 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.” How cool is that? I love knowing that Luke really felt like Gaston in the costume. But the best was hearing Luke admit, “He was a hard character to let go. I think we both felt very sad to let them go because we had so much fun and brought so much happiness to villains, it is to make people laugh.” As much of a villain as Gaston was, he really does make the movie enjoyable!
Since Beauty and the Beast is such an iconic movie, I was truly interested to know why they both wanted to be involved. I’m sure it’s scary walking into a Disney film that is truly known around the world and you want to make sure it’s done the best as can be. Josh was hilarious, “The money. [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] It was one of those – no, honestly, I literally would have done this movie for nothing. It was – 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? And 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’s answer was different in the sense whereas he’s not a father, so it was interesting to hear his take on why he wanted to take on the iconic role as Gaston, “My godchildren are very young and I’ve got lots of kids in my family who are just a little tired of me making 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.’”
I’m telling you, these guys were great! They were so open and so relaxed and so welcoming to all of our questions. They really portrayed, very easily, why this movie was so important for them to do. I love that they really love the message in this movie that love conquers hate. I love that they want this message brought out into the world to make a difference. And I loved how they addressed the strength and the importance of having a strong female lead, as Luke said, “If it wasn’t for her, this story wouldn’t have the backbone that it does. And it comes from a very fearless, independently spirited young woman who reads, who’s intellectual. Who wants to learn. Who sees that there are no boundaries to her world. It might be right there and then but she knows there’s a world out there to conquer and to discover. And she doesn’t need a man to do it. I mean, she’s a 21st Century Disney princess. And Emma was exactly the right person to portray that character.”
But let me drive home this point one more time — Luke and Josh are INCREDIBLE together in this film. The rendition of GASTON in Beauty and the Beast is something I will watch over and over and over again. It was Disney magic at its finest! They made me laugh and sing along… and they’re villains! It was that kind of good and that kind of capturing. I loved what Luke said regarding that specific scene, “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!”
See – their job here is done!
Definitely make sure you check out Beauty and the Beast on the 17th of March! Mark your calendars now!
You will fall in love! And I’m telling you, it’s even sweeter to see how much these guys loved making the film, too!
Disclosure: Disney Press Trip. All travel was covered.