Eddie Redmayne says trans role in ‘The Danish Girl’ was ‘a mistake’
Eddie Redmayne counts his 2015 Oscar-nominated role as the Danish transgender artist Lili Elbe among his professional regrets, the actor said during a recent interview.
The biopic “The Danish Girl” told the true story of one of the first people in history to have gender reassignment surgery.
The Tom Hooper-directed film starring Redmayne — as well as Alicia Vikander as the artist’s wife, Gerda Wegener, a role that earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress — drew criticism from the LGBTQ community and its allies for not casting a trans actor to play the role.
When asked his feelings about the film in hindsight, the 39-year-old British actor told The Sunday Times, “No, I wouldn’t take it on now. I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake.”
“The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don’t have a chair at the table. There must be a leveling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates,” he explained.
Redmayne was nevertheless lauded for his performance in “The Danish Girl” and had called it “a great privilege to play” the trailblazing trans artist, IndieWire reported in 2015. One way he prepared for the role was by consulting with Matrix director Lana Wachowski, who came out as trans in 2010.
THE DANISH GIRL – Official Trailer – In Theaters November 2015
The “Fantastic Beasts” star, who is preparing for a new West End production of “Cabaret,” was speaking to UK publication the Sunday Times.
“The Danish Girl,” directed by Tom Hooper, is inspired by the story of Elbe, one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
Although Redmayne was nominated for a string of awards for his performance, his casting as Elbe prompted complaints, with many critics arguing that the role should have gone to a trans actor.
Redmayne can next be seen playing the Emcee in “Cabaret,” opposite “Chernobyl” actress Jessie Buckley as Sally Bowles.
Liza Minelli famously played Bowles and Joel Grey was cast as the sexually ambiguous Emcee in the 1972 film adaptation
Redmayne asked those who might criticize his decision to take on a role often played by LGBT actors to suspend judgment.
“Of all the characters I’ve ever read, this one defies pigeonholing. I would ask people to come and see it before casting judgment,” he said. “Cabaret” opens opens at London’s Playhouse Theatre on December 12.
Redmayne played one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery in the 2015 drama.
Redmayne, 39, scored a best actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Danish painter Lili Elbe, one of the earliest recipients of sex reassignment surgery.
The casting of Redmayne, a cisgender actor, drew criticism from some who believed that a trans actor should have taken the role of Elbe.
Redmayne acknowledged the controversy at the time of the movie’s release, and he described how he had prepared for the role by consulting with members of the trans community.
”When I was preparing to play Lili, I met many women from the trans community who were sensationally generous and kind,” he told TODAY in 2015. “The transparency and the need to educate me by opening their hearts was amazing.”
At the time, the star admitted there had been “years of cisgender success on the back of trans stories” and said he hoped more trans actors could play trans parts in the future.
But he added that any actor “should be able to play any sort of part if one plays it with a sense of integrity and responsibility”.
The following year, after being criticised for appearing to suggest that The Danish Girl had helped bring trans issues to mainstream attention, he said it was “an honour to be part of this conversation in some small way” and that he was “an ally of the trans community”.
In response to his latest comments, a spokesperson for trans charity Gendered Intelligence said trans representation on screen had “come on leaps and bounds” since The Danish Girl was released and “a consensus is being reached that trans actors for trans roles should be de rigueur”.
They said: “Not only does this help abate the possibility of telling our stories in unnecessarily denigrating ways, but the authenticity of trans actors playing trans parts means stories are being told in a more meaningful way for actors and viewers alike.
“We’re increasingly hopeful that stories about and for trans people can be told by those actors themselves, with more diverse talent both on screen and behind the camera.”
Redmayne, who starred in Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, also backed members of the trans community after author JK Rowling posted tweets taking issue with the phrase “people who menstruate”.
“I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid,” the actor said in a statement.
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The Danish Girl
The Danish Girl is a 2015 biographical romantic drama film directed by Tom Hooper, based on the 2000 novel of the same name by David Ebershoff, and loosely inspired by the lives of Danish painters Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener.
The film stars Eddie Redmayne as Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery, Alicia Vikander as Wegener, and Sebastian Koch as Kurt Warnekros, with Ben Whishaw, Amber Heard, and Matthias Schoenaerts in supporting roles.
(/ˈrɛdˌmeɪn/; born 6 January 1982)
Edward John David Redmayne OBE is an English actor and model.
He is the recipient of various accolades, including an Academy Award, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a British Academy Film Award. He began his professional acting career in West End theatre before making his screen debut in 1996 with guest television appearances. His first films were Like Minds and The Good Shepherd, both in 2006.
On stage, Redmayne starred in the productions of Red from 2009 to 2010 and Richard II from 2011 to 2012. The former won him the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play.
(born Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener; 28 December 1882 – 13 September 1931)
Lili Ilse Elvenes , better known as Lili Elbe, was a Danish painter and transgender woman, and among the early recipients of sex reassignment surgery.
She was a successful painter under her birth name. After transitioning in 1930, she changed her legal name to Lili Ilse Elvenes and stopped painting; she later adopted the surname Elbe. She died from complications following a uterus transplant.
The US and UK English versions of her semi-autobiographical narrative were published posthumously in 1933 under the title Man into Woman: An Authentic Record of a Change of Sex.
What is Transgender ?
Transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from the sex that they were assigned at birth.
Some transgender people who desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another identify as transsexual.
Transgender, often shortened as trans, is also an umbrella term; in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex (trans men and trans women), it may also include people who are non-binary or genderqueer.
Other definitions of transgender also include people who belong to a third gender, or else conceptualize transgender people as a third gender.
The term transgender may be defined very broadly to include cross-dressers.