Amber Heard Talks Gender Reassignment Surgery: It's Awesome

by Zach Seemayer 7:59 PM PDT, April 23, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Amber Heard has a big year ahead of her, with roles in some highly anticipated projects that are already garnering critical acclaim including When I Live My Life Over Again and The Adderall Diaries.

However, one role that is generating real buzz is the upcoming drama The Danish Girl, in which Heard stars opposite Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. The film tells the story of Danish artist Lili Elbe, played by Redmayne, a transgender woman who became one of the first recipients of gender-reassignment surgery in 1930.

Speaking with IndieWire, Heard, an active proponent of LGBT community who also came out as bisexual in 2010, spoke about her work on the project and what role her activism played in her decision to appear in the film.

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"I'm seeking roles that challenge me and that are compelling. There not always going to be easy characters, or beautiful characters or heroes. I want to take roles that I feel are complex and challenging and The Danish Girl is no exception," Heard said.

The 29-year-old star went on to explain that numerous factors played a part in her desire to work on The Danish Girl.

"Tom Hooper is one my favorite filmmakers. Eddie Redmayne is one of the most talented actors of my generation… I was excited to work with Alicia," Heard said. "I love art, I love the surrealism, especially. So this era is compelling to me."

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The Rum Diary actress went on to say that, ultimately, it was the films themes and powerful message that she found to be the most compelling aspect to joining the project.

"It's a story surrounding some of the intimate issues within the LBGT community. Discrimination, identity, family relationships love, all these things within the context of a society," Heard said. "Somebody undergoing a sex change to fully realize themselves is incredibly compelling for me."

The actress also opened up about her fascination with the advancements in medical science and gender-reassignment surgery in the years since Lili Elbe.

"This is a relatively new possibility to change gender. So it opens up a whole new conversation that's fascinating to me about what it is to be male or female or to live in a world with a two party system," Heard explained. "Where you have up until recently one of two options, and it wasn't an option. Now it opens up a conversation."

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"There's always been gay people. That's a fact. And I'm not trying to say that having ambiguous gender identity, I'm not saying that's new… but to actively be able to change it in this way...awesome," Heard added.

The actress, who is best known for her work playing characters who often high sexualized, also talked about her struggle to break out of that type cast.

"This industry's very hard on women, because you're constantly asked to choose between one of two archetypes: sexy or not. And within the 'not,' you perhaps can acquire for yourself a few different traits, but they're going to be severely limited," Heard shared.

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In her upcoming film When I Live My Life Over Again, Heard plays the wayward, unambitious daughter of a once-famous crooner (Christopher Walken), who is evicted from her apartment and is forced to live with her dad and her more successful sister. According to Heard, it the type of role she’s "fought for since the first day on the scene."

"I should not have to choose to be taken seriously or to be beautiful," Heard told IdieWire. "I finally get to do a role without any of that sh*t. It's about a character and her issues and her problems and her journey… I moved to L.A. when I was 17, not knowing anyone, so I had to work my ass off. Finally I'm being allowed to have the opportunity."