Redmayne, playing 1920s transsexual, finds it 'shocking' how little has changed

Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:19am EST
 
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By Edward Baran

LONDON (Reuters) - Eddie Redmayne said he finds the lack of progress on transgender rights in the past century 'shocking' after playing 1920s transsexual pioneer Lili Elbe in his new film "The Danish Girl".

    "Some of the things that...Lili specifically has to go through of violence, discrimination, almost 100 years on from that story, those things haven't necessarily changed," Redmayne told Reuters.

"There is a huge amount of job discrimination and discrimination generally against trans people and a huge amount of violence particularly for trans women of color.

"And so it's kind of shocking that there hasn't been as much progress in that amount of time," he said in an interview to launch the film about one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery, born as Einar Wegener in 1882.

    Wegener, an artist, began living as a woman after his marriage and had the first of several gender-reassignment operations in 1930. She died in 1931 but left diaries and her life was fictionalized in the book "The Danish Girl".

    Redmayne explained that he had met several transgender people to help him prepare for the role, but it made playing the part no less daunting once the cameras started rolling.

    "The first time I walked on set (as Lili) I felt scrutinized, I felt the gaze of other people and I felt nervous... It was interesting because it was something that a lot of the (trans) women I'd met had spoken about...

"What I learned from this experience is that gender is fluid in the way that sexuality is fluid and we have bits of everything in us," Redmayne said.   Continued...

 
Actor Eddie Redmayne and his wife Hannah Bagshawe attend the red carpet event for the movie "The Danish Girl" at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, northern Italy September 5, 2015. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini