Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne has applauded the courage of I Am Cait
star Caitlyn Jenner ahead of his portrayal of transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.
Redmayne told Out magazine
he was in New York City when the iconic Vanity Fair cover published in June
featured Jenner in the first magazine fashion shoot since her very public transition.
“I was reading the New York Times and all of the op-ed pieces that were being written about it,” he said.
“The dialogue was so rich and full, with everyone having opinions. Then I came back and saw the trailer for the film. I absolutely salute her courage. Hers [Jenner’s] is a very specific story, and it’s one that shouldn’t stand for everybody’s. But it is amazing what she’s gone through and how she’s done it.”
In preparation for his role as Elbe, Redmayne said he had met with transgender people such as film director Lana Wachowski, former model April Ashley and Attitude's own Paris Lees in order to understand their experiences.
The Les Misérables
actor said he was largely ignorant about transgender issues until first becoming interested in the role three years ago, which also preceded his Oscar win in February for portraying physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything
“I knew nothing about it, going in. It felt like it was a piece about authenticity and love and the courage it takes to be yourself," he said.
“People were so kind and generous with their experience, but also so open. Virtually all of the trans men and women I met would say 'ask me anything'.
"They know that need for cisgender people to be educated.”
Redmayne said he felt a strong but "delicate" responsibility to educate himself and his audience around transgender people, and likened the current period of emergence within the public eye to a “civil rights moment”.
“My greatest ignorance when I started was that gender and sexuality were related,” he said.
“And that’s one of the key things I want to hammer home to the world. You can be gay or straight, trans man or woman, and those two things are not necessarily aligned.”
Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
, The Danish Girl
opens in the US on November 27.