As Eddie Redmayne prepares to debut his latest film, The Danish Girl, he has been speaking openly about the responsibility of playing a transgender character, his own ‘femininity’ and his thoughts on Caitlyn Jenner. Redmayne, 33, who plays Lili Elbe, the first recorded recipient of gender reassignment surgery in the 1930s, revealed how much he had learnt from the transgender community in preparation for The Danish Girl.
“I felt like, I’m being given this extraordinary experience…but with that comes this responsibility of not only educating myself but hopefully using that to educate an audience.” The Oscar winner was overwhelmed with the openness and generosity of the trans men and women who shared advice with the British actor in preparation for his new role.
“My greatest ignorance when I started was that gender and sexuality were related. And that’s one of the key things I want to hammer home to the world. You can be gay or straight, trans man or woman, and those two things are not necessarily aligned.” The former Les Miserables star, who admitted he could see why people see femininity in his personality, initially faced criticism from trans activist, Paris Lee, on being cisgender playing a trans role.
“Politically, it makes me groan,” she said. But Eddie’s commitment to the role made her change her mind. “If anybody’s going to do this justice, then I’m happy it’s Eddie.”
Trans issues have been making headlines in recent months, as Caitlyn Jenner starred on the groundbreaking Vanity Fair cover. Redmayne said of the Olympic gold medallist: “I absolutely salute her courage. Hers is a very specific story, and it’s one that shouldn’t stand for everybody’s. But it is amazing what she’s gone through and how she’s done it.”
The Danish Girl will be released in UK theatres in November.
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By Sophie Gallagher