Eddie Redmayne, who was nominated for an Oscar award for his role as Lile Elbe in The Danish Girl, one of the first people to have gender reassignment surgery, says that he regrets playing the role.
While the film was praised for its sensitive portrayal of transgender people, it has recently come under fire for not casting a transgender actor for the part, which instead went to Redmayne, already a high-profile actor at the time.
It is debatable if the film would have garnered as much attention as it did, or won any awards, had someone other than Redmayne been cast in the role of Elbe. Redmayne’s star power, combined with his charisma as a talented actor, allowed the movie’s message to really shine through his acting.
Redmayne, who also won an Oscar for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, said that he now feels the role of Lile Elbe should have gone to a trans actor following widespread backlash from the film critic wokenista.
“No, I wouldn't take it on now. I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake,” he said in an interview with the Sunday Times. “The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don't have a chair at the table.”
The interviewer rebutted Redmayne’s remarks, pointing out that the film probably would not have been made without him. The script existed for years and was only greenlit after Redmayne accepted the role right after he won an Oscar.
“The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don’t have a chair at the table. There must be a levelling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates.” Redmayne replied.
The Danish Girl was released months after Redmayne picked up an Oscar for best actor in the film The Theory of Everything. Following the movie’s release, Redmayne said there had been “years of cisgender success on the back of trans stories” and expressed his hope that more trans actors could play trans parts in the future.
The actor added that despite his wishes, any actor “should be able to play any sort of part, if one plays it with a sense of integrity and responsibility.”
Despite his support for the trans community, however, he was criticized for appearing to suggest that The Danish Girl helped to bring trans issues to mainstream attention. His critics claimed that he was taking credit away from activists who had laboured for decades to bring awareness to transgenderism.
The year after, in 2020, Redmayne appeared to weigh in on J.K. Rowling’s tweets about transgender people, where he stated “I disagree with Jo's comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid.”
At the time, Rowling was weighing on the woke phrase “people who menstruate” in place of “women.” Her questioning of the politically correct term earned her death threats and vilification as a “transphobe.”
Redmayne made his remarks following the release of the Harry Potter spin-off, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was based on Rowling’s books.