Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne is describing as a “mistake” his decision to play a transgender woman in the 2015 film, The Danish Girl. “No, I wouldn’t take it on now. I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake,” Redmayne told The Sunday Times in London. “The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don’t have a chair at the table. There must be a leveling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates.”
Redmayne earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for playing artist Lili Elbe, one of the first people in the world to undergo gender reassignment surgery, in the drama, which was directed by Tom Hooper. The film came under fire at the time for not employing a trans actor to play Elbe instead of Redmayne.
Redmayne defended his performance in 2015 by stating: “I hope — as an actor one hopes –- that one should be able to play any sort of part if one plays it with a sense of integrity and responsibility.”
Redmayne lost the Oscar to Leonardo DiCaprio for his performance in The Revenant. Redmayne had earlier earned a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of scientist Stephen Hawking in 2014’s The Theory of Everything. The actor is also known for his portrayal of wizard Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts movies. He famously denounced in 2020 views that the franchise’s creator, J.K. Rowling, had expressed about transgender people.
“As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand, I disagree with Jo’s comments,” Redmayne said. “Trans women are women, trans men are men, and non-binary identities are valid. I would never want to speak on behalf of the community, but I do know that my dear transgender friends and colleagues are tired of this constant questioning of their identities, which all too often results in violence and abuse. They simply want to live their lives peacefully, and it’s time to let them do so.”
Redmayne is now preparing to play the Emcee in a West End production of the musical, Cabaret.