Speaking to Attitude magazine, Bill Condon — who directed the Emma Watson remake — revealed that the animated movie's lyricist, Howard Ashman, had AIDS. He related to the story and pushed to show a different side to the Beast.
"Ashman had just found out he had AIDS, and it was his idea, not only to make it into a musical but also to make Beast one of the two central characters," Bill said. "Until then it had mostly been Belle's story that they had been telling."
"Specifically for him it was a metaphor for AIDS," he continued. "He was cursed and this curse had brought sorrow on all those people who loved him and maybe there was a chance for a miracle and a way for the curse to be lifted. It was a very concrete thing that he was doing."
Sadly, Howard died from AIDS-related complications four days after the film's first screening on March 14, 1991 but he was remembered as one of the first openly gay men in show business.
And now 26 years later in the new reboot, Disney just made history by including a gay character for the first time EVER, which Bill also revealed to Attitude mag is villain Gatson's sidekick, LeFou.