The drama “The Danish Girl” is one of those projects that has been around in many, many different incarnations for several years. In almost every iteration, two women were cast in the story of Lili Elbe, the 1920s Danish artist who was one of the first recipients of sexual reassignment surgery. Versions of the film had Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman in the leads, Gwyneth Paltrow and Marion Cotillard were attached at one point, and directors Tomas Alfredson, Lasse Hallstrom, and Bill Condon were also set to helm.
But the project took on a new direction when Academy Award-winner Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) took on the mantle. Instead of two female leads, one of them undergoing surgery to become a woman, Hooper decided to cast Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) as Elbe, which seems like an inspired choice given our cultural conversation about gender fluidity and the rise of transgendered awareness, acceptance, and empathy.
The zeitgeist seems to be ready for a movie on this subject now too, given Caitlyn Jenner’s success story this year, and celebrated transgendered narratives like “Orange Is The New Black” and “Tangerine.” Hooper and Focus Features couldn’t have picked a better year to release “The Danish Girl.”
It’s all very fortuitous and prescient as the film has been in the works almost a decade. Co-starring Alicia Vikander, Ben Whishaw, Amber Heard, and Matthias Schoenaerts, “The Danish Girl” will do the rounds at the fall film festival circuit, making its world premiere in Venice and its North American premiere in Toronto. Universal/Focus will release the picture on November 27th.