“His work will live on”: Beauty and the Beast star Josh Gad on Robin Williams’ death-NewsCO

March 16, 2017

He was the singing, sentient snowman in mega-hit Frozen and he was a correspondent for The Daily Show. 

Now genuine triple threat Josh Gad is starring as Disney’s first openly gay character LeFou in the live action Beauty and the Beast.

But it has been a long road to success for Gad, which included a stint here in Australia studying at NIDA. And not all of that journey has been all that easy, including a failed attempt to audition for Juilliard. 

The issue, he says, was pride.

“So what happened was I went in there and you have to do two monologues. You have to do a modern piece and you have to do a Shakespeare or a classical piece. 

“And I was like ‘oh I’m going to blow their minds, Juilliard ain’t ever seen anything like this’.

“And the response was one of violent silence. They looked at me as if I slaughtered a cow in front of them.”

Gad says he forgot many of the Shakespeare lines he was supposed to be reciting and starting improvising “in verse”.  And at the end of it all? 

“I said after it ended ‘I’ll just show myself out’,” he laughs.

“But it was a good lesson. I was sort of like ‘you don’t have the talent yet or the skill to not be humble or modest about what you do.”

While studying at NIDA in 2002, Gad says he had somewhat of a professional revelation. 

“My time in Australia really suddenly made everything click for me because the approach to drama here had a practicality to it that was accessible to me.

“I understood what I had to do.”

After an acclaimed run on Broadway in The Book Of Mormon, Gad says the closest thing that has come to recapturing that sensation of the nightly applause was his experience working on the remake of Beauty and the Beast.

As a massive Disney fan, he adds rgar Robin Williams’ performance as the Genie in Aladdin was “momunmental” to him and it “left this mark” that informed his choices as Olad in Frozen.

During The Book Of Mormon’s run, the actor had a chance to thank Williams’ personally as they were living in the same building. 

“He wrote me one of the loveliest letters I have ever received,” says Gad.

“I have it at home, it’s personal, but it was amazing to come full circle and get to say that to an icon.”

Following his death at the age of 63, Gad says he has never seen anything like the response the public had to his passing.  

“I have personally never witnessed – other than very few times – the loss, the sudden loss, of an entertainment icon leave that kind of wake in its path.

“Robin’s work will live on long after most of us are gone and I think that’s the greatest thing you can hope for as a performer.”

More on Beauty and the Beast

 

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