Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne said transgender people helped him prepare for his role as trans pioneer Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl that premiered Saturday at the Venice Film Festival.
‘Across the board the generosity of people was amazing,’ Redmayne said at a press conference launching the film about Danish painter Einar Wegener, one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
He has consulted people of all ages from the transgender community, saying it was ‘the most brilliant education… Their kindness and support galvanized me.’
A couple in Los Angeles, in which the wife stayed with her husband while he transitioned to a woman, as well as Elbe’s diaries and the book based on Elbe’s life, helped his portrayal in particular, which has won rave reviews among critics.
‘The way in which they allowed me to ask them anything, galvanized me. There were two things that stayed with me: Cadence [Valentine] said she would give anything and everything to live a life authentic; and the other was that, while she was transitioning, the question was: how deep was her partner’s pool of empathy.’
‘I don’t know if I succeeded but what I learned in that process was quite incredible,’ said Redmayne who was named the Oscar for best actor this year for his role as physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.
Director Tom Hooper once again defended his choice of Redmayne to play Elbe – calling the actor his ‘instinctive choice’ – amid criticism that he did not use enough trans actors and actresses in the movie.
But Hopper, who also made The King’s Speech, admitted: ‘There is a problem in the industry.
‘The access of transgender actors to roles is utterly key. I would champion any shift where the industry would move forward.’