Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne has said that playing a transgender character in The Danish Girl was a “mistake.” He admitted that he would not take up a role now.
“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. “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 added.
Based on true events, Redmayne played one of the first people in the world who underwent gender reassignment surgery in the Tom Hooper-directed film.
Redmayne, who won a Best Actor at the Academy Awards in 2015 for playing disabled scientist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, earned an Oscar nomination in the same category a year later for The Danish Girl. There were demands at the time for the character to be played by a trans actor.
The actor is also the lead of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts franchise, the latest of which, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, is due in 2022. Speaking up about J.K. Rowling, who has been criticized for her anti-trans comments, Redmayne said, “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,” Redmayne said in 2020 in a statement shared with Variety. “I disagree with Jo’s comments. 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.”
On the work front, Eddie Redmayne is currently starring alongside Jessie Buckley in a new production of Cabaret at London’s Playhouse Theatre. The actor plays The Emcee, or the Master of Ceremonies, a role that has been played several times by LGBTQ+ actors since it first premiered on Broadway in 1966.
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