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Digital Subscriptions > Gay Times > April 2017 > KING of the (Disney) CASTLE

KING of the (Disney) CASTLE

Alan Menken is a Disney legend. After all, who else has eight Academy Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, 11 Grammy Awards and one Tony Award to their name? The composer returns to the big screen with a live-action imagining of Beauty and the Beast. A modern taken on a classic tale, director Bill Condon’s movie marks a first for Disney by featuring a same-sex “moment”. But is this a new life for Disney and LGBT+ representation on screen? How do you write for characters you first discovered almost 30 years before? And is Emma Watson’s Belle the best there’s ever been? Alan helps us turn the page on this new chapter of the girl in the yellow dress…

FILM

“OH MY GOD, I think we need a happily ever after! We need it especially right now. Oh fuck! You wonder why with the great orange beast that we have hulking in The White House?!”

It wasn’t the practically perfect answer we expected to come from Disney composer Alan Menken. Now back on the big screen with a live-action take on Beauty and the Beast, Alan isn’t quite the sickly sweet and polished Disney persona you’d first expect him to be – much to our enjoyment.

For the three of you that aren’t aware of his work, Alan penned the finest scores to come out of the Magical Kingdom, including award winning songs Under the Sea, A Whole New World, Colors of the Wind and Be Our Guest – alongside many others, of course.

He now leads a new cast of famous stars including Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Sir Ian McKellen and Luke Evans. It’s a movie that features new faces, new music, and a queer new storyline…

“It’s going to haunt Josh forever,” Alan jokes as we discuss American actor Josh Gad’s portrayal of LeFou, Disney’s first openly queer character. The beloved sidekick to Gaston, he’s a character that, in this interpretation, struggles between his want to BE Gaston, alongside his want to be WITH Gaston. But was such a move an easy fit?

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Connor Franta commands attention. With 5.6 million YouTubers subscribed to his channel and over 350 million views, his video diaries offer a window into the life and mind of this 24 year old entrepreneur and New York Times best-selling author. Life is not always rainbows and butterflies, though. In our April issue, we sit down with Connor to discuss his battle with depression, how coming out wasn't a cure-all, and about our individual and collective roles in the fight for LGBT+ equality.  Elsewhere in the issue, the world-exclusive interview with all the queens from Season 9 of RuPaul's Drag Race; Nicholas Afoa becomes the first Disney theatre star to pose for a gay magazine; comedian Richard Gadd on using comedy to deal with sexual assault; Dan Matthews, SVP of PETA, on throwing pies at Anna Wintour; LDN Muscle's brothers on their game-changing approach to fitness; plus, style, travel and community features.
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