Eddie Redmayne Calls Playing Trans Woman in The Danish Girl a “Mistake”

"I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake”

eddie redmayne trans woman the danish girl mistake
Eddie Redmayne (photo by Dick Thomas Johnson) and The Danish Girl (Focus Features)

    Eddie Redmayne is reflecting on his Oscar-nominated turn in 2015’s The Danish Girl, calling his performance as Lili Elbe, one of the first trans women to ever undergo gender reassignment surgery, a “mistake.”

    “No, I wouldn’t take it on now,” he told The Sunday Times. “I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake.” He added, “The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don’t have a chair at the table. There must be a leveling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates.”

    Tom Hooper directed The Danish Girl from a 2000 novel of the same name by Daid Ebershoff. Some members of the LGBTQ community criticized the film at the time of its release, suggesting that the part of a trans woman should have been played by a trans actor.


    In 2015, Redmayne told IndieWire that starring as Elbe was a “great privilege,” and called criticism of the film, “important.” He said, “I think there has been years of cisgender success on the back of trans stories.”

    Redmayne is currently anchoring J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise, with the third installment, The Secrets of Dumbledoredue out in April of 2022. Redmayne has distanced himself from Rowling’s persistent transphobia, telling Variety in 2020, “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.”