On today’s episode of the Obscure Disney Podcast, we are talking all things roughly the size of the barge and covered in hair. We cover everything from Gaston’s Tavern at Walt Disney World, trying the Grey Stuff and then discuss the patch for the month of September; Gaston Interior Design.
Gaston is a fictional character who appears in Walt Disney Pictures' 30th animated feature film Beauty and the Beast (1991). Voiced by American actor and singer Richard White, Gaston is an arrogant man whose unrequited feelings for the intellectual Belle drive him to murder his adversary, the Beast, once he realizes she cares for him instead. Gaston serves as a foil personality to the Beast, who was once as vain as Gaston prior to his transformation.
An original character who is not present in the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont upon which the film is based, Gaston was inspired by Avenant, a character filmmaker Jean Cocteau created specifically for his 1946 film adaptation of the story. Created by screenwriter Linda Woolverton, who based the character on some of the ex-boyfriends she dated in her past, Gaston was developed specifically for Disney's adaptation of Beauty and the Beast because the studio felt that the film could benefit from a strong villain, who is lacking in the original fairy tale. As the character evolved from a non-threatening aristocrat into an arrogant man relentlessly seeking Belle's hand in marriage, Gaston ultimately replaced a female relative of Belle's who the filmmakers had originally created to serve as the film's villain.
Both Disney and supervising animator Andreas Deja initially struggled with the concept of animating a handsome villain, which had never been attempted by the studio before. Deja ultimately based Gaston's appearance on those of handsome soap opera actors in order to create a grotesque version of the Prince Charming stock character, while some of White's own operatic mannerisms were incorporated into the character. Gaston both physically and emotionally embodies hypermasculinity. In direct contrast to his adversary the Beast, Gaston is depicted as handsome with an unattractive personality. Gaston has been generally positively received by film critics, although some of them dismissed the character as an inferior, less memorable villain than some of the studio's previous efforts. Considered to be one of Disney's most famous villains, Gaston is frequently ranked within the top-tens of Disney villain rankings released by several media publications.