Eddie Redmayne Thinks Playing a Transgender Woman Will Be a ‘Unique Experience’

by Meredith B. Kile 8:43 PM PDT, March 16, 2015
Photo: Focus Features

Before last year, Eddie Redmayne's best known roles were supporting parts in Les Miserables and My Week With Marilyn. Now, the British actor has a BAFTA Award, a SAG award, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar to his name.

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Redmayne, who won over audiences, critics, and voters with the impressive physicality of his portrayal of ALS-afflicted physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, is now preparing for another transformative role. The actor is reuniting with Les Miserables director Tom Hooper to play transgender woman Lili Elbe, one of the first recipients of gender reassignment surgery, in the biographical adaptation The Danish Girl.

"I was actually offered The Danish Girl before Hawking," Redmayne told British GQ for his Spring/Summer 2015 cover story. "People go, 'Oh are you doing this transformative thing?' It's not a concerted choice. I think it will be a unique experience."

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The actor told the magazine that he discussed the role with trans director Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the 2015 sci-fi film Jupiter Ascending, in which Redmayne played the villainous Balem Abrasax.

"There is so much I need to investigate," he said. "It's a very famous story within the trans community. I spoke to Lana early on when I was thinking about doing it."

The first image of the actor in character as Elbe was released on Feb. 26. While he claims that the physically transformative roles aren’t a conscious direction, Redmayne acknowledges a common thread among his most buzzed-about parts.

"If your dream is to tell stories, interesting stories, play interesting people," he concludes. "That's the bottom line."

VIDEO: Eddie Redmayne Hilariously Reenacts His Failed 'Hobbit' Audition

There's at least one audition that Redmayne hasn't nailed in his young career. Watch the actor reenact his failed Hobbit tryout on The Graham Norton Show in the video below.