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Eddie Redmayne says playing trans character for his award-winning Danish girl was a ‘mistake’

Eddie Redmayne has revealed that he thinks playing a trans character for the Danish Girl film in which he was nominated for an Academy Award was a “mistake” after critics argued the role should have gone to an LGBT actor.

The British actor, 39, played transgender artist Lili Elbe, who is considered one of the first people to have gender reassignment surgery, alongside Alicia Vikander in the 2015 film The Danish Girl.

For his performance, he was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars – just a year after receiving the award for his performance as Stephen Hawkins in The Theory of Everything.

But talk to The times prior to the cabaret show where he plays Emcee, a gender-fluid character, Redmayne said he now thinks playing Elbe was a “mistake.”

British actor Eddie Redmayne, 39, played transgender artist Lili Elbe, who is considered one of the first people to have gender reassignment surgery, alongside Alicia Vikander in the 2015 film The Danish Girl. But he has now told the Times that he thinks the roll was a 'mistake'.  (pictured in September 2019)

British actor Eddie Redmayne, 39, played transgender artist Lili Elbe, who is considered one of the first people to have gender reassignment surgery, alongside Alicia Vikander in the 2015 film The Danish Girl. But he has now told the Times that he thinks the roll was a ‘mistake’. (pictured in September 2019)

At the time, critics said the part should have been played by a trans actress, and Redmayne now says he wouldn’t take the part if it was offered to him now.

“No, I wouldn’t take it now. I made that movie with the best of intentions, but I think it was a mistake,” the Fantastic Beasts actor said.

‘The bigger discussion about the frustrations surrounding casting is that many people don’t have a seat at the table. There has to be a leveling up, otherwise we will continue with these debates.

At the time of Redmayne’s casting for The Danish Girl, there was an ongoing argument that LGBT+ roles should be played by LGBT+ actors.

Redmayne was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Elbe in the 2015 film, pictured

Redmayne was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Elbe in the 2015 film, pictured

Redmayne was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Elbe in the 2015 film, pictured

Redmayne herself told IndieWire at the time: ‘I think it’s a very important discussion. And I think it’s also representative of a lot of discrimination against transgender people in the workplace in general.

“I think there’s been years of cisgender success based on trans stories.”

Other actors – including Scarlett Johansson – have gone nuts after being cast as LGBT+ characters.

In 2018, Johansson had to retire from playing transgender man Dante Gill, aka Tex, who ran a string of massage parlors in the 1970s and 80s that became fronts for prostitution dens in a movie poised to be titled.Rub & Pull.’

The Fantastic Beast actor said he wouldn't accept the role if it were offered to him now.  Pictured in The Danish Girl with Alicia Vikander

The Fantastic Beast actor said he wouldn't accept the role if it were offered to him now.  Pictured in The Danish Girl with Alicia Vikander

The Fantastic Beast actor said he wouldn’t accept the role if it were offered to him now. Pictured in The Danish Girl with Alicia Vikander

Redmayne in the film for Elbe's transition.  The actor said trans actors should be sitting at the table when they talk about representation

Redmayne in the film for Elbe's transition.  The actor said trans actors should be sitting at the table when they talk about representation

Redmayne in the film for Elbe’s transition. The actor said trans actors should be sitting at the table when they talk about representation

“While I would have loved the chance to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender, and I’m grateful that this casting debate, while controversial, has sparked a wider conversation about diversity and representation in film,” she said at the time.

When Johansson’s casting as Gill was announced, transgender actress Trace Lysette wrote on Twitter: “Not only are you playing with us and stealing our story and our opportunity, but you’re also patting yourself on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we’ve lived.

In 2020, The Fantastic Beast And Where To Find Them star joined the chorus of critics of JK Rowling, 54, after she tweeted about an article titled “Creating a more equal post COVID-19 world for people who menstruate.”

Pictured: Redmayne with his wife, Hannah Bagshawe, with whom he shares two children, in July

Pictured: Redmayne with his wife, Hannah Bagshawe, with whom he shares two children, in July

Pictured: Redmayne with his wife, Hannah Bagshawe, with whom he shares two children, in July

At the time Redmayne was cast as Elbe, in the photo, people were claiming the role was to be played by a trans actress

At the time Redmayne was cast as Elbe, in the photo, people were claiming the role was to be played by a trans actress

At the time Redmayne was cast as Elbe, in the photo, people were claiming the role was to be played by a trans actress

Rowling wrote: ‘People who menstruate. I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me. wumben? Wimp? Woomud?’

In a statement to Variety, Eddie replied: “As someone who has worked with both JK Rowling and members of the trans community…

“I absolutely wanted to make it clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid.’

Rowling has caused a storm in the trans community and among her peers and fans as the comments accused her of transphobia.

Eddie and his wife in October at the Alexander McQueen SS22 Womenswear Show at The Standard

Eddie and his wife in October at the Alexander McQueen SS22 Womenswear Show at The Standard

Eddie and his wife in October at the Alexander McQueen SS22 Womenswear Show at The Standard

Eddie has been working with Rowling since 2016, after he starred as Newt Scamander in the Fantastic Beasts series, which is based on Rowling’s 2001 book.

His entire statement read: “Respect for transgender people remains a cultural necessity, and over the years I have tried to constantly educate myself…

‘This is a continuous process. As someone who has worked with both JK Rowling and members of the trans community, I really wanted to make it clear where I stand. 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 identity, which all too often results in violence and abuse…

“They just want to live peacefully, and it’s time to let them do that.

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