Eddie Redmayne Regrets Role in The Danish Girl

There was opposition at the time to not having a transgender actor play Lili Elbe
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2021 4:00 PM CST
Eddie Redmayne Agrees: He Shouldn't Have Played Lili Elbe
Alicia Vikander, left, as Gerda Wegener, and Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe in "The Danish Girl."   (Focus Features via AP)

If Eddie Redmayne—who played a transgender character in The Danish Girl—had to do it all over again, he wouldn't. "I wouldn't take it on now," the actor told the Sunday Times. There was criticism at the time that the role should've gone to a transgender actor. Redmayne played Lili Elbe, one of the first people to have gender reassignment surgery, in the 2015 film. Carol Grant, a transgender writer, called the casting regressive and reductive, per CNN, adding that it "contributes to harmful stereotypes."

Plenty of people received his work well; the actor was nominated for an Academy Award for the part. Redmayne said then that any actor "should be able to play any sort of part if one plays it with a sense of integrity and responsibility," per the BBC. But Redmayne now agrees with the critics. Taking the role was a mistake, he said, adding that change is needed. "The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don't have a chair at the table," Redmayne said. "There must be a leveling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates."

After Redmayne's remarks, a spokesperson for trans charity Gendered Intelligence said representation had improved in "leaps and bounds" in recent years and "a consensus is being reached that trans actors for trans roles should be de rigueur." The spokesperson said the "authenticity of trans actors playing trans parts means stories are being told in a more meaningful way for actors and viewers alike," per the BBC. (More Eddie Redmayne stories.)

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