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Eddie Redmayne: ‘The Danish Girl research was a mammoth education’

Published 24/12/2015

Eddie Redmayne
Eddie Redmayne

Eddie Redmayne still believes society has a long way to go in accepting transgender people.

Actor Eddie Redmayne found the process of preparing for his role in The Danish Girl a “mammoth education”.

The British star portrays transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in the movie, and spent a great deal of time with the transgender community to understand every aspect of their lives.

“The whole process for me was a mammoth education," he told People magazine. "In some ways the statistics speak for themselves: 41 per cent of all trans people have considered suicide. The cost that trans people go through just to be themselves involves such bravery and courage."

Eddie has been involved in the project since 2012, when director Tom Hooper gave him the script while they worked together on Les Misérables, and the actor is grateful to have had plenty time to research the role properly.

“The lovely thing was I had years to prep," he explained. "When you know it's coming up, you organise your life to give the best."

Eddie has already started to receive recognition for his efforts, securing Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, but he doesn’t think any of it would have been possible without the crucial advice he got from the transgender community.

“There were surface things some of the women would say,” he said. “April Ashley, an elder trans woman in England said, when I was talking to her about my voice, 'Don't go up in pitch. Find the femininity in your own voice.'"

His research also helped him understand what it was like to be trans during the 1920s and 30s and really get into character as Lili.

“There was almost an affectation to her femininity,” he said of Lili’s first steps towards transitioning. “Some of the trans women I spoke to talked about this phase of hyper-feminisation, when you're wearing too much makeup or clothes that are too feminine."

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