The Danish Girl didn’t come out that long ago, and yet it was still a very different time. It was 2015. Eddie Redmayne had won an Academy Award one year earlier for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. He would go on to receive another Oscar nomination for The Danish Girl, in which he played Lili Ilse Elvenes (called Lili Elbe in the film), who in 1930 became one of the first people to receive sex reassignment surgery. Even at the time, before talk of onscreen representation had become as pronounced as it is today (and before Dave Chappelle was routinely making trans jokes), Redmayne received backlash for being a cis performer playing a trans character. Now, some six years later, he’s going even further than that.
In a new interview with The Sunday Times, the English actor is of a different mind than he was in 2015. “No, I wouldn’t take it on now,” Redmayne the Times. “I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake.”
At the time, Redmayne tried to gingerly defend taking the role while acknowledging that “there has been years of cisgender success on the back of trans stories.” But he still felt that, as a performer, “one should be able to play any sort of part if one plays it with a sense of integrity and responsibility.”
Redmayne no longer feels that way. However, he was asked whether his star power — and that of his costar Alicia Vikander, who won an Oscar for playing Elvenes’ spouse, Gerda Wegener — helped the movie get made. To that, he noted that, then as now, “many people don’t have a chair at the table.” He added, “There must be a leveling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates.”
(Via The Sunday Times)