Eddie Redmayne has had a magnificent start to 2015. The best start any young actor could ask for, winning a Golden Globe, BAFTA and an Oscar for his depiction of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
After such a transformation for his role as Hawking, Redmayne is again going the extra mile for his acting prowess. In his first performance since winning the coveted Oscar, Redmayne is already gearing up to place himself firmly in next years nominations. This time he is playing transgender pioneer Einar Wegener – later known as Lili Elbe – in The Danish Girl.
Set in the 1920's the film will follow the extraordinary story of Einar Wegener, one of the first identifiable recipients of sex reassignment surgery, after he and his wife (Gerta Gottlieb) had settled in Paris.
Lili Elbe came into being after Wegener started dressing in women's clothes one day filling in for Gottlieb's absentee model; she was asked to wear stockings and heels so her legs could substitute for those of her model.
During Theory of Everything Redmayne expressed his joy at being able to spend time with the iconic Stephen Hawking, and with this film he again got to spend time with a whole host of incredible people.
There’s extraordinary bravery and brilliant people that I’ve met, so I’m hoping it will be an interesting experience
Yet this casting wasn't without it's controversy. Many people have questioned the casting, and called for an actual transgender actor to play the role, but Redmayne had a response, speaking to the Telegraph;
There is an incredibly valid discussion for why a trans actress isn’t playing the part, because there are so many brilliant trans actresses, and I’m sure there are many who could play this part sensationally,
But one of the complications is that nowadays you have hormones, and many trans women have taken hormones. But to start this part playing male you’d have to come off the hormones, so that has been a discussion as well. Because back in that period there weren’t hormones.
There’s also a great history of cisgender, cis people sort of gaining on the back of trans stories, and I absolutely understand that that is not cool. But I hope firstly this is a specific period piece, and really is set in its time, in which the bravery that it took, if you were in your mind not of the same gender as your physical being, to undertake when there was no question… no one had done it before. So it was basically death or… But the absolute need to be authentic and strive to be comfortable in your own… or to be your own gender, was pretty formidable and brave to me
The film will see Redmayne rejoin with movement director Alexandra Reynolds who helped him with his performance as Hawking, and director Tom Hooper who he worked with in Les Miserables.
The Danish Girl to be distributed by Universal Pictures later in the year.