Eddie Redmayne reflects on his role in “The Danish Girl”, where he portrays transgender woman Lili Elbe, one of the first to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
The actor “wouldn’t take it now,” he told The Times in an interview on Sunday. “I made this film with the best of intentions, but I think it was a mistake.”
The 2015 film follows the stages of the transition from Elbe to artist Einar Wegener and its effect on his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander).
Redmayne, who is cisgender, won an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his portrayal and the film was mainly applauded, but over time he came under criticism for not choosing a trans actor in the role.
“The biggest discussion of the frustrations around the casting is because a lot of people don’t have a chair at the table,” Redmayne told The Times. “There has to be a leveling, otherwise we’re going to continue having these debates.”
Redmayne is set to star in a new production of “Cabaret” as the emcee, a character often portrayed by LGBT actors, whom he also spoke about in an interview with The Times. “Of all the characters I have ever read, this one defies classification. I would ask people to come and see it before passing judgment,” he said.
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Vikander also reflected on her role in “The Danish Girl,” saying she understood the backlash from Redmayne’s casting.
“We need to make changes and we need to make sure trans men and women really get on and find work,” Vikander told Insider in August.
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Representation of the LGBTQ community has become a topic of discussion in Hollywood.
Selena Gomez, who is famous along with Justin Bieber and Nick Jonas, has signed on to play lesbian climber Silvia Vasquez-Lavado. Cisgender actress Halle Berry considered taking on an undisclosed transgender male role last summer.
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In previous years, straight actors Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer sizzled onscreen as lovers in “Call Me By Your Name”. Cisgender actor Jeffrey Tambor played a transgender woman in “Transparent.” Straight actor Nick Robinson channeled a young gay man struggling with his identity in “Love, Simon.”
But more recently, actors and industry experts have spoken out about the need for queer and transgender actors to play roles that represent these communities.
“It would be nice if there were enough LGBT roles for everyone to play because there was no shortage of representation,” said Jane Ward, professor of gender and sexuality studies at the University of California, Riverside told USA TODAY last year. “However, this is not the case.”
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Contribution: David Oliver