In order to prepare for his upcoming role as Lili Elbe, one of the first identified transgender women to undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1930, British actor Eddie Redmayne says he did his homework.
In a new interview with OUT magazine, Redmayne recounts time he spent with Trans individuals, hoping the encounters will help bring life to his character as a transgender activist in The Danish Girl.
“People were so kind and generous with their experience, but also so open,” said Redmayne. “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.”
The 33-year-old Oscar-winner went on to describe the importance of the role, which he feels comes with great responsibility.
“I felt like, I’m being given this extraordinary experience of being able to play this woman, but with that comes this responsibility of not only educating myself but hopefully using that to educate [an audience],” he continued. “Gosh, it’s delicate. And complicated.”
As for how he views himself: “I suppose it depends what you think of as masculine and feminine,” Redmayne explained. “I was musical, and I was into theater and arts, but I was also into sports, so I had quite a broad spectrum. I can also totally see that other people see a femininity in me.”
The actor also commented on former Olympic gold medalist-turned Trans activist Bruce Jenner, who announced in April he intends to live the rest of his life as a woman.”
I absolutely salute her courage,” he said. “Hers 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. It’s a civil rights movement.”
The Danish Girl will debut on Nov. 25.