Eddie Redmayne has said he wants to be an ally to the transgender community.
The star, who plays Lili Elbe, the first trans woman to undergo gender reassignment surgery, in The Danish Girl, appeared on the Graham Norton show.
He said: “It’s been 15 years in the making and has come out at time when there has been such a shift in these issues coming to the mainstream.
“The story is so beautiful and the people from the trans community I met in preparing for the part were incredibly generous. It has been a privilege and, while not in any way talking for the community, I’m trying to learn to be an ally.”
Of going out into the streets of Copenhagen as Elbe, he continued: “I was trying to get all sort of ‘method’ on it, but I’m not sure how successful I was, because at six foot tall with a red wig and wearing 1920s gear people just stared. But I learnt a lot about the trans world.”
Redmayne has recieved high praise for his portrayal of Elbe, and is being tipped for success during awards season.
However, the decision to cast Redmayne in the role of a transgender woman has resulted in criticism from the transgender community.
Rebecca Root, star of the BBC sitcom Boy Meets Girl, originally auditioned for the role of Elbe but landed a smaller role in the film.
She has said that cisgender people shouldn’t play transgender roles, and that she hoped that Redmayne, even though she had nothing but praise for the actor, would be the last high profile cisgender man to portray a transgender woman.
Tom Hooper, the director of The Danish Girl, has said that he cast Eddie Redmayne in the lead role because of the actor’s ‘gender fluidity’.
He then went on to say that he hopes the casting of Redmayne in the role will highlight the lack of diversity in Hollywood.
Redmayne has been very outspoken on the subject of transgender issues since his casting, saying that it is “shocking” that trans issues haven’t improved much since Lili Elbe and calling for people to become more educated on trans issues.