Actor Eddie Redmayne talks of how vulnerable he felt, playing a trans woman

Actor Eddie Redmayne talks of how vulnerable he felt, playing a trans woman

Eddie Redmayne has opened up about his experience of portraying a trans woman in The Danish Girl.

Talking to The Sun, the Oscar winning actor explained that he now has a limited insight into how transgender people live.

“It leaves you feeling very exposed and vulnerable,” he said. “The set itself felt very safe when I would be walking around as Lili, but there was still this sense of people watching you and feeling judged. Imagine what it must be like for trans women who are constantly facing such judgment as well as discrimination and violence in many cases.”

The Danish Girl is based on the real-life story of trans woman, Lili Elbe, one of the earliest recipients of gender reassignment surgery. Redmayne has received high praise for his portrayal of Elbe, and is being tipped for success during awards season.

However, the decision to cast Redmayne in the role of a transgender woman has resulted in criticism from the transgender community.

Rebecca Root, star of the BBC sitcom Boy Meets Girl, originally auditioned for the role of Elbe but landed a smaller role in the film. She has said that cisgender people shouldn’t play transgender roles, and that she hoped that Redmayne, even though she had nothing but praise for the actor, would be the last high profile cisgender man to portray a transgender woman.

Tom Hooper, the director of The Danish Girl, has said that he cast Eddie Redmayne in the lead role because of the actor’s ‘gender fluidity’. He then went on to say that he hopes the casting of Redmayne in the role will highlight the lack of diversity in Hollywood.

Redmayne has been very outspoken on the subject of transgender issues since his casting, saying that it is “shocking” that trans issues haven’t improved much since Lili Elbe, and calling for people to become more educated on trans issues.

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11 Comments

  1. Dennis Macaulay
    December 07, 06:38 Reply

    I actually want to see this film, they have been advertising it for a while now. I also smell an oscar, it seems like a deep complex character.

    I disagree that only Trans people should play Trans roles, it defeats the entire concept of acting. Gay men play straight roles and vice versa, I think talent and suitability for the role should be paramount and not gender identity!

    • Mandy
      December 07, 06:40 Reply

      I agree. At the end of the day, what’s important is the question of whether a community is appropriately represented in film. If Eddie Redmayne does a good job of shedding light on the trans community, that’s all that really matters, and not who is playing the character.

    • Dubem
      December 07, 06:43 Reply

      One can argue that in a film such as The Normal Heart, there were gay actors playing the meaty gay roles. The trans actors feel they’d better tell their story, since its coming from a personal place, than a cisgender actor. But in Hollywood, fiscal returns is what dominates everything else. Whoever is in the titular role must be bankable, and as yet, there are no bankable transgender actors.

      • Dennis Macaulay
        December 07, 06:52 Reply

        I agree, asides talent they need bankable actors who will draw attention to the movie, they need to make profit!

        Remember #HOAYS when Nigerians were shouting that Genevieve or Kate should be cast as Olanna or Kainene and some people printed out that they need popular names if the movie is going to go anywhere!

            • KryxxX
              December 07, 09:16 Reply

              Heavy disaster!!

              Huge epic fail! Gonna shout it from d hills, mountains, radio, tv! Everywhere!

              #HOAYS ended and I was like “is it over or should we expect a second coming?!”.

              Ah! I still can’t forgive those guys for ruining a good book!

              Waiting patiently, looking @ Americanah, Chimamda and Lupita one kian now. They better not be ruining my Ifemelu!

            • Max
              December 07, 11:44 Reply

              Huge floppy disk..

  2. Delle
    December 07, 12:07 Reply

    Oya, how can I get this movie o! I feel so useless now not knowing how the movie is.
    Site anyone?

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