Redmayne’s casting was met with controversy which said that the role should’ve gone to a trans woman.
Six years since he starred as Lili Elbe in the critically acclaimed film The Danish Girl, Academy Award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne recently reflected on playing the iconic trans woman, saying it was “a mistake” to take on the role.
Based on true events, the Tom Hooper film saw Redmayne, a cisgender man, play one of the first transgender people to undergo gender reassignment surgery in Elbe. News of the casting was met with controversy through critics who believe that the role should have gone to a trans actor.
In a recent interview with The Sunday Times, Redmayne shared his thoughts on whether he would accept the role if it were offered to him today.
“No, I wouldn’t take it on now,” he replied. “I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake.”
“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.
Redmayne received a Best Actor nomination from the Academy for the role, the same category which we won the previous year when he played disabled scientist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
Redmayne had been vocal on the topic of trans people’s rights. Last year, Redmayne revealed that he personally wrote to J.K. Rowling after the Harry Potter author was heavily criticized for her anti-trans comments. In a series of tweets, Rowling suggested that only cis-women can menstruate.
Redmayne revealed then that the vitriol Rowling received was “absolutely disgusting,” but later on leveled that the abuse faced by trans people is “equally disgusting.”
Distancing himself from Rowling’s comments, Redmayne also shared the following statement to Variety in June 2020:
“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,” he ended.
The actor also leads the ensemble of Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts” franchise as Newt Scamander. The latest of which, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, is set to come out in 2022.