Eddie Redmayne Says ‘It Was a Mistake' to Play Trans Woman in ‘The Danish Girl'

Redmayne played one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery in the 2015 drama

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Eddie Redmayne says he regrets portraying a transgender woman in the 2015 film “The Danish Girl” and says he wouldn’t accept the role if it was offered to him today.

“No, I wouldn’t take it on now,” he said in a recent interview in the Sunday Times. “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,” he added. “There must be a leveling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates.”

Redmayne, 39, scored a best actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Danish painter Lili Elbe, one of the earliest recipients of sex reassignment surgery.

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Eddie Redmayne arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles

The casting of Redmayne, a cisgender actor, drew criticism from some who believed that a trans actor should have taken the role of Elbe.

Redmayne acknowledged the controversy at the time of the movie's release, and he described how he had prepared for the role by consulting with members of the trans community.

​​"When I was preparing to play Lili, I met many women from the trans community who were sensationally generous and kind,” he told TODAY in 2015. “The transparency and the need to educate me by opening their hearts was amazing."

Redmayne has spoken out publicly for trans rights in recent years. In 2020, he weighed in on the controversy surrounding a series of tweets posted by J.K. Rowling. The “Harry Potter” author’s tweets were called transphobic by many inside and outside the LGBTQ community.

“As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand,” Redmayne, who stars in Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts” movie franchise, said in a statement to Variety last year.

“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.”

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