entertainment

Eddie Redmayne says playing trans role in The Danish Girl was a 'mistake'

The Oscar winner made the comments as he takes on a famously queer-coded role in Cabaret.

2021-11-22

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki

Eddie Redmayne has said he regrets playing transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in the 2015 biopic The Danish Girl and that he wouldn’t take the role if it was offered to him now.

The film, which tells the story of Lili, one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the 1930s, saw the British actor earn his first Oscar nomination. 

Redmayne, 39, was criticised at the time for taking on the role as a cis-gender heterosexual man taking on a transgender role; an argument that has since become even more fiercely debated.

"It was a mistake"

In an interview with The Sunday Times, the Theory of Everything Oscar winner said he had made The Danish Girl with the "best intentions," but that it had been 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's comments come as he takes on another role famously played by queer actors – Emcee in the musical Cabaret, which is currently on at the Playhouse Theatre in London's West End.

Actors to have previously played the role, which isn’t in itself exclusively a queer role, have included Alun Cumming and Joel Grey.

Following criticism of his casting in the role, Redmayne told British Vogue: "I hope when people see the performance, the interpretation will justify the casting."

He added: "The way I see the character is as shape-shifting and a survivor.”

The Attitude December issue is out now.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.