Hollywood Continues Transgender Focus With ‘Danish Girl’
Eddie Redmayne is once again eyeing a place in next year’s Oscar race. The actor is starring in the upcoming transgender drama The Danish Girl, which just earned a fall release date in the heart of the 2015-2016 awards season.
Based on the 2001 novel of the same name by David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl is set in the 1920s and is described as a remarkable love story. The film is inspired by the lives of artists Einar and Gerda Wegener. Redmayne stars as Einar, whose work and marriage to Gerda takes a dramatic turn when he decides to begin the groundbreaking journey to become Lili Elbe, one of the world’s first transgender women. Alicia Vikander stars as Gerda. Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, and Amber Heard co-star in the film.
The forthcoming project re-teams Redmayne with Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), who first worked with the actor on the 2012 award-winning musical Les Miserables. Lucinda Coxon, who’s penning the upcoming Crimson Peak film, wrote the adapted screenplay. Hooper will also serve as a producer on the project alongside Pretty Pictures’ Gail Mutrux, Harrison Productions’ Anne Harrison, and Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.
For Redmayne, The Danish Girl marks his latest role following his critically praised turn in last year’s Stephen Hawking biopic, The Theory of Everything. The actor’s portrayal of the famed physicist earned him universal critical acclaim and won him an Oscar for Best Actor, as well as a slew of other awards.
Viewers got their first look at Redmayne in the part of Einar in a film still released last month. At the time, the actor discussed the role, revealing he had spoken with members of the transgender community to research his role. “I think it’s the most sensitive role I have played,” the actor said of the part.
The movie comes just as Hollywood is placing a new kind of spotlight on the transgender community. Last year, Laverne Cox became the first openly transgender performer to earn an acting Emmy nod for her breakout role on Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black. She’s set to continue breaking the mold with the upcoming broadcast series Doubt, which will star Cox as a competitive and compassionate transgender Ivy League-educated attorney. Earlier this year, Jeffrey Tambor also won a Golden Globe for his starring role on Amazon’s acclaimed series Transparent. Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, also recently sparked a social media frenzy with her Vanity Fair cover, which was released ahead of her TV docu-series I Am Cait.
Meanwhile, on the feature film front, The Danish Girl is just one of several upcoming projects focusing on a trans character’s life story. As announced this past fall, Elle Fanning, Naomi Watts, and Susan Sarandon are starring in the trans-themed drama Three Generations, due out later this year. The movie will reportedly center on a teenager (Fanning) who transitions from female to male and her single mother, Maggie (Watts), who is coming to terms with having to raise her only daughter as a male.
Whether The Danish Girl will prove to be an award winner like the studio hopes remains to be seen, but Redmayne and Hopper certainly make for a formidable team. “In the tradition of Focus’ history of epic and moving love stories, The Danish Girl promises to be unforgettable,” Focus Features CEO Peter Schlessel said in a statement.
The movie is scheduled to hit theaters on November 27.