Eddie Redmayne reveals how he responded to backlash over The Danish Girl role
Eddie Redmayne opened up about an important lesson he learned after taking part in a workshop with trans actors following The Danish Girl backlash.
Redmayne played Lili Elbe, a Danish painter who underwent the world’s first documented gender-affirmation surgery, in the 2015 movie. He later vowed to never play the role of a trans person again and admitted his part in The Danish Girl was a “mistake” after the controversy around his casting.
Redmayne revealed he still regrets taking on the role and that he took part in a workshop with trans actors, who he said were “quite rightly interrogating” him about The Danish Girl.
“A few years ago, I did a workshop with trans actors at the Central School of Speech and Drama,” he told The Guardian.
“A lot of them were quite rightly interrogating me about my choice to do The Danish Girl, and pointing out that many trans actors don’t go to drama school because they don’t see it as an opportunity. Unless there are parts that you think are possible for you to play, why would you?”
Eddie Redmayne believed “everyone wants to be able to play everything”, but he said there needs to be a “levelling” where communities that “haven’t had a seat at the table” historically can be represented.
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“No one wants to be limited by their gender or sexuality but, historically, these communities haven’t had a seat at the table,” he said. “Until there’s a levelling, there are certain parts I wouldn’t play.”
Redmayne added that he can “only see the flaws in the work” he does and said The Danish Girl “feels like a fictionalised version” because it “doesn’t feel like Lili’s story”.
The actor previously defended his role in The Danish Girl in a 2015 interview with IndieWire. Redmayne suggested that both trans and cis actors should “be able to play any sort of part” if they do so with a “sense of integrity and responsibility”.
In 2020, the Fantastic Beasts star joined a chorus of other actors across the Harry Potter cinematic universe to take a stand against JK Rowling’s views on the lives of trans people.
Eddie Redmayne emphatically stated that “respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative”, and he has been “trying to constantly educate” himself over the years.
“Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid,” Redmayne said.
“I would never want to speak on behalf of the community but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse.
“They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
Redmayne shared his disgust at the “hideous torrent of abuse towards trans people online and out in the world”, which he described as “devastating”, in another interview just a couple months later.
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