Eddie Redmayne Says it Was ‘a Mistake’ to Play a Trans Character

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Photo Source: Courtesy Focus Features

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne may have received an Academy Award nomination for his work in the 2015 feature “The Danish Girl,” but in hindsight, the actor now has some regrets about having played the title character. 

The film tells the true story of Lili Ilse Elvenes, one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1930. At the time of the film’s release, Redmayne received some backlash for portraying a transgender character as a cisgender actor. 

In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Redmayne admits that he agrees with the criticism and would never take on the part now. “I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake,” he says. “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’s stance today is markedly different from his at the time of the film’s release. In a 2015 interview with IndieWire, he said, “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.” 

At the time of the film’s release, its director, Tom Hooper, also defended his decision to cast Redmayne in the title role. Citing the fact that he’d cast “40 or 50 trans supporting artists,” Hooper added, “I’m pleased we achieved what we did, but I’m sure there’s more to do.”

This is the second time in recent years that Redmayne has publicly spoken out in support of the trans community. Following anti-trans comments from author J.K. Rowling, Redmayne, who starred in the film adaptation of Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” released the following statement: 

“Respect for transgender people remains a cultural imperative, and over the years I have been trying to constantly educate myself. As someone who has worked with both JK Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and nonbinary identities are valid.”

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