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.