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Eddie Redmayne: Playing Trans Character in ‘The Danish Girl’ Was a ‘Mistake’

The Danish Girl
Agatha A. Nitecka/©Focus Features /Courtesy Everett Collection

Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne has said that playing a trans character in “The Danish Girl” was a “mistake.”

Based on true events, Redmayne played one of the first people in the world who underwent gender reassignment surgery in the Tom Hooper-directed film.

Redmayne, who won a best actor Oscar in 2015 for playing disabled scientist Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything,” earned an Oscar nomination in the same category a year later for “The Danish Girl.” There were demands at the time for the character to be played by a trans actor.

“No, I wouldn’t take it on now. I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake,” Redmayne told The Sunday Times.

“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 added.

Redmayne is currently starring alongside Jessie Buckley in a new production of “Cabaret” at London’s Playhouse Theatre. The actor plays The Emcee, or the Master of Ceremonies, a role that has been played several times by LGBTQ+ actors since it first premiered on Broadway in 1966.

“Of all the characters I’ve ever read, this one defies pigeonholing. I would ask people to come and see it before casting judgment,” Redmayne told The Sunday Times.

The actor is also the lead of “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts” franchise, the latest of which, “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,” is due in 2022.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson will join filmmaker Chris Columbus and other cast members from all eight “Harry Potter” films for the first time in “Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts,” an HBO Max retrospective special to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first film, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Currently, Rowling, who has been criticized for her anti-trans comments, is not scheduled to appear in the special.

“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 said in 2020 in a statement shared with Variety.

“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.”