Eddie Redmayne told The Sunday Times that he would not star in “The Danish Girl” if the period drama was made today. The movie, directed by Tom Hooper and co-starring Alicia Vikander, starred Redmayne as painter Lili Elbe, a transgender woman who was one of the early recipients of sex reassignment surgery. Redmayne’s performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Despite the awards attention, Redmayne’s casting drew criticism as the film did not cast a trans actor as Elbe.
“No, I wouldn’t take it on now,” Redmayne said. “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.”
Vikander, whose performance in “The Danish Girl” won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, told Insider in August that she understood the criticisms against the film over Redmayne’s casting. She called the backlash “a learning experience,” although she maintained that “Eddie did a wonderful job in the role.”
“I totally understand the criticism that has been out there, because we need to make change and we need to make sure that trans men and women actually get a foot in and get work,” Vikander said. “My only concern is that we may need to get to a point in the end where we have trans women and men playing cis characters. Because that is the main thing, you know?”
Redmayne himself addressed the controversy before the film’s 2015 theatrical release in an interview with IndieWire, saying, “It’s an incredibly important discussion. And I think it’s also representative of a lot of discrimination against trans people in the work place generally. I think there has been years of cisgender success on the back of trans stories…Many trans people worked on the film… one trans actress Rebecca Root plays a cisgender nurse in the film.”
“For me, I hope there’s a day when there are more trans actors and trans actresses playing trans parts, but also cisgender parts,” Redmayne added. “And I hope — as an actor one hopes — that one should be able to play any sort of part if one plays it with a sense of integrity and responsibility.”