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September 16, 2015   Ali   Articles & Interviews, Danish Girl, Images, Magazines Comments Off on Eddie Redmayne: Playing Transgender Pioneer Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl Was ‘An Extraordinary Privilege’

People.com spoke to Eddie at the Toronto Film Festival about the opportunity to play Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.

In last year’s The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne transformed into a young Stephen Hawking, depicting the cosmologist’s debilitating battle with ALS. His latest role called for an even more dramatic departure: a transgender woman.

Based on a true story, The Danish Girl finds the Oscar winner playing Lili Elbe, a trans woman who was one of the first to undergo sexual reassignment surgery. (Swedish star Alicia Vikander plays Gerda Wegener, Elbe’s wife who supported her through the transition.)

“There’s a certain fear that goes into playing any character, but really it felt like an extraordinary privilege [playing Lili]. She is an astounding woman,” the actor told reporters Saturday at the movie’s Toronto International Film Festival premiere. “The notion of transitioning and having confirmation surgery could almost lead to death. But her courage, her will to live a life true to herself, she felt that was more valuable.”

Redmayne, 33, met with trans women of all ages to prepare for the role and says the more research he did, the more one sentiment stuck out to him.

“What I found astounding, in relation to Lili’s story, is that almost 100 years on – I know there is a conversation going on at the moment, and that is wonderful – but there is still so much progress that needs to happen,” he said.

“It’s amazing, this conversation, and that the world is becoming educated. But I think there’s still a long way to go,” Redmayne added, noting the discrimination against and high suicide rate among the trans community.

As for Vikander, 26, she had an interesting tie to the LGBT community, thanks to her father.

“My dad, actually, he’s a psychiatrist and had worked with a lot of transgender people, so the support and ideas I got from him was incredible,” she told reporters of tackling the role.

And Redmayne says the film opened his eyes in more ways than one.

“I suppose that I had been incredibly ignorant beforehand, and I don’t … it never occurred to me that gender is fluid. There is a sort of spectrum,” he said. “The idea of the masculine and the feminine: Like, what is masculine? Is sport masculine? Is arty things feminine? I think it’s kind of antiquated, the notion of that now. There’s a spectrum, and we all fit on it somewhere.”

September 15, 2015   Ali   Danish Girl, Video Comments Off on Eddie Wants You to See The Danish Girl

At the premiere of The Danish Girl the press talks to Eddie about the Oscar buzz surrounding his new film.

His part is right around 1:05!

So go see it!

September 14, 2015   Ali   Articles & Interviews, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Comments Off on Eddie Redmayne is smitten by J.K. Rowling’s wonderful world of ‘Beasts’ at TIFF

Eddie shared with USA Today about how excited he is to be working on Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

While Eddie Redmayne is one of the biggest names in town at the Toronto International Film Festival with The Danish Girl, the Oscar winner’s also excited about getting back to the British set of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling’s cinematic continuation of her Harry Potter series arriving in theaters Nov. 18, 2016.

We naturally asked him about it and he naturally clammed up about his role as ace magizoologist — and Hogwarts alum — Newt Scamander in the story, which takes place 70 years before Harry, Ron and Hermione came to school for the first time. (Maybe he’s worried about the Dementors. We get that, Eddie.)

“Ooooooooh, Beasts. I want to disclose everything but I literally cannot tell you anything. All I can say is that I’m having the most wonderful time and J.K Rowling has written something utterly wonderful.”

So far Redmayne’s only met her once and, yep, she’s wonderful:

“We only had an hour before she was going away and we just talked character quite intensively. Her knowledge of my character’s backstory and the intricacies of it all were really inspiring.”

The actor did admit that he has some youthful zeal in working in this magical world, though like when he starred in the Les Miserables movie, it’s a complicated thing when it’s a project that means a lot to you:

“I had been to see Les Mis when I was a kid and I wanted to be Gavroche, and my parents were like, ‘You must have had so much fun making Les Mis!’ You know what, when you care about something so much when you’re doing it, you’re always trying to do it better. You’ve only got that day and when the camera’s rolling, and that scene’s done. So your mind’s always going: ‘How do I do it better, how do I do it better…’ And as a consequence, enjoyment is another question. I’m definitely having fun, but the thing with J.K. Rowling is I loved those books and I loved those films, and now there’s the sense of I don’t want to be the guy who lets everybody down.”

September 13, 2015   Ali   Images, Magazines Comments Off on Eddie & Alicia on the cover of Variety Magazine

Variety featured Eddie & Alicia on the cover of their magazine recently and I have added some of the images from the photoshoot to the gallery.

Gallery Links:
Eddie Redmayne Web > Outtakes > 2015 > 027

September 13, 2015   Ali   Events, Images Comments Off on The Toronto Film Festival – Image Update

The Toronto Film Festival is officially underway and last night was the screening of Eddie’s film The Danish Girl. A giant thank you to Claudia for sharing some of these pics with us!

Gallery Links:
Eddie Redmayne Web > 2015 > September 12 | Toronto Film Festival – The Danish Girl Screening
Eddie Redmayne Web > 2015 > September 12 | Toronto Film Festival – InStyle/HFPA Party

September 6, 2015   Ali   Events, Images 2 Comments

Yesterday Eddie was in Venice supporting his film The Danish Girl at the Venice Film Festival. Hannah attended the premiere with him and both looked fabulous! A giant thank you to Claudia & Lindsey for sharing some of these pics with us!

Gallery Links:
Eddie Redmayne Web > 2015 > September 5 | Venice Film Festival – The Danish Girl Photocall
Eddie Redmayne Web > 2015 > September 5 | Venice Film Festival – The Danish Girl Premiere

September 6, 2015   Ali   Danish Girl, Video Comments Off on 72nd Venice Film Festival – The Danish Girl Press Conference

Here is a video clip showing some of the Danish Girl press conference from the Venice Film Festival yesterday!

September 6, 2015   Ali   Danish Girl Comments Off on Venice Film Review: ‘The Danish Girl’

Variety gives us the first review of The Danish Girl and it sounds like once again Eddie delivered a phenomenal performance!

Eddie Redmayne makes the ultimate transition, reteaming with ‘Les Miserables’ director Tom Hooper in this sensitive, high-profile portrait of transgender pioneer Lili Erbe.

A year after Eddie Redmayne proved his incredible capacity for reinvention in “The Theory of Everything,” the freckle-faced Brit pulls off the ultimate identity overhaul as “The Danish Girl,” portraying gender-reassignment trailblazer Lili Elbe, nee Einar Wegener, who was one of the first to make a “sex change” via surgery. For an actor, there can be few more enticing — or challenging — roles than this, in which the nature of identity, performance and transformation are all wrapped up in the very fabric of the character itself, and Redmayne gives the greatest performance of his career so far, infinitely more intimate — and far less technical — than the already stunning turn as Stephen Hawking that so recently won him the Oscar. Reuniting with “Les Miserables” director Tom Hooper in a return to the handsome, mostly interior style of the helmer’s Oscar-winning “The King’s Speech,” Redmayne finds himself at the heart — one shared by Alicia Vikander, as Einar’s wife, Gerda — of what’s destined to be the year’s most talked-about arthouse phenomenon.

Though set nearly a century ago, between the years 1926 and 1931, it has taken this long for the subject to receive such a high-profile treatment, and though some might say argue it comes as too little too late, the pic’s release could hardly be timelier in the wake of so many recent headlines — especially the legalization of gay marriage and Caitlyn Jenner’s high-profile gender transition. As it happens, “The Danish Girl” has been in the works since the publication of David Ebersoff’s novel 15 years ago, with Nicole Kidman originally attached to play Lili for director Lasse Hallstrom.

Clearly, this was never not going to be a “prestige” picture. And while that ultra-respectful approach will engender allergic reactions in some, who’d sooner see a gritty, realistic portrayal — a la Jill Soloway’s terrific “Transparent” series for Amazon — than one seemingly tailored for the pages of fashion and interior-design magazines, there’s no denying that Hooper and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon have delivered a cinematic landmark, one whose classical style all but disguises how controversial its subject matter still remains. For rowdier crowds, there will always be “Myra Breckinridge.” In order to penetrate the conversation of “polite” society, however, one must play by its rules, and “The Danish Girl” is nothing if not sensitive to how old-fashioned viewers (and voters) might respond, scrubbing the story of its pricklier details and upholding the long-standing LGBT-movie tradition of tragically killing off the “monster” in the end.

Pause for a moment to consider how significant a choice it was to cast a man, Redmayne, in the lead role — which is not to say that gifted actresses haven’t delivered incredible work in pre- and post-op male-to-female parts, from Felicity Huffman’s “Transamerica” road-tripper to Olympia Dukakis’ “Tales of the City” landlady. But it’s almost unfair to cast according to the character’s target gender, as it inoculates whatever resistance the public feels toward these procedures (although one day, Hollywood will cross the hurdle of inviting trans actors to play such roles, as well as those on either side of gender divide).

When “The Danish Girl” first introduces Redmayne’s character, he is dapperly costumed as a Danish gentleman, making eyes across a gallery opening at his wife, Gerda (Vikander). And what eyes! Throughout the actor’s career, casting directors have always wrestled with Redmayne’s exceptionally specific look, which is not so much androgynous as a paradoxical blend of pretty and off-putting features: those unblinking, long-lashed eyes; the sharp, knobby cleft of his nose; elegant malar bones set above pale, sucked-in cheeks; and lips to make Angelina Jolie jealous. Our brains never quite know how to process Redmayne’s appearance, and here, Hooper takes full advantage of that situation.

The first time Einar dons ladies’ clothes, the idea is Gerda’s: Already married, the couple both make their living as artists, and though Einar’s work is taken seriously, a gallerist tells Gerda that she could be great, if only she found the right subject matter. It’s just an offhand suggestion, a favor really, but while waiting for her model to arrive, Gerda asks her husband to slip on a pair of ivory stockings and matching silk pumps, inadvertently releasing her muse.

When dancer friend Ulla (Amber Heard) does appear, she responds to the situation with delight, christening Einar’s alter ego “Lili.” It’s a confusing moment for Einar, who has long repressed what made him different from the other boys in Vejle, Denmark, and who will later tell his wife, “You helped bring Lili to life, but she was always there.” Outsiders always want to know what makes LGBT people “that way,” seeking psychological answers to a situation with which they can’t identify, but “The Danish Girl” dutifully avoids any such armchair diagnosis. It is surely for the benefit of such skeptics that Lili explains, “God made me this way, but the doctor is curing me of the sickness that was my disguise.”

Until scandalously recent times, the medical community’s response to such identity issues was to diagnose their “aberrant” or “perverse” patients as schizophrenic or insane and to shock, drug or irradiate the sickness out of them. That chronic misunderstanding becomes a running thread in the film, which tends to be far more pleasant to watch when Lili is getting to be herself. She is understandably hesitant to emerge at first, though Einar (who hates public gatherings) agrees to accompany his wife dressed as Lili, his imaginary ginger-haired cousin from Vejle. The resulting scene may be the film’s best, a coming out as thrilling as Cinderella’s ball, in which Lili can feel the gaze of everyone in the room on her.

This, he learns, is how beautiful women feel all the time in public, and if audiences take nothing else away from Hooper’s humanely empathetic film, this lone gender-swapping lesson in identification is victory enough. Naturally, Lili’s situation is more complicated, instantly escalating when a young suitor named Henrik (Ben Whishaw, masculinized for contrast’s sake) takes Lili aside and tries to kiss her — at precisely the moment Gerda comes to fetch her husband. Clinging to the notion that Einar and Gerda’s love was strong enough to weather all the challenges of his transition, Coxon’s screenplay is dramatized in such a way that the couple never discuss any of these setbacks immediately, but typically get around to it a scene or two later, back at home with their pet dog to distract and dressed in a fresh set of costume designer Paco Delgado’s lovely frocks.

In this case, Lili has vanished by the next morning, replaced by Einar, who appears to be genuinely wrestling between the two personae struggling for control of his body. At one point, reunited with boyhood friend Hans (Matthias Schoenaerts), he admits that he has considered suicide, but held back because he understood he would be killing Lili at the same time — a sentiment that all too many trans people share and one of the many reasons such a well-rounded portrayal is long overdue.

Of course, Einar’s struggle is very real, all the more difficult for its time, given the prevailing homophobia (dramatized in a Parisian gay-bashing) and sexual politics of the time. The late ’20s were still early days for women’s rights, and Redmayne represents someone trying to follow his female intuition at a time when that meant ceding the social privileges of manhood — an irony made clear in Gerda’s character, whose own bisexual identity has been conspicuously omitted, so as not to complicate the film’s politics.

Spotlighting the least-represented thread in the LGBT quilt, “The Danish Girl” clearly wants to untangle the trans experience from the blanket definition of homosexuality, using Lili’s rejection of Whishaw’s gay character and her interview with gender-confirmation surgeon Dr. Kurt Warnekros (Sebastian Koch, playing the sensitive pioneer) to distinguish the two. What’s of utmost importance here is the discovery and ultimate acceptance of Lili’s true identity, and from the film’s perspective, the gender question has nothing (or very little) to do with sex. Rather, it’s something that reveals itself at first in mirrors and other reflective surfaces, and later directly to camera, as Redmayne explores Einar’s hidden second persona.

As Hans puts it at a train sendoff that recalls “Casablanca,” “I’ve only really liked a handful of people in my life, and you’ve been two of them.” But Lili’s emergence is a gradual and hesitant process, beautifully embodied by Redmayne — and reflected by Vikander, whose Gerda does her best to adapt alongside her husband, amounting to a substantive role for the film’s resident “Swedish girl.” Shy at first, like a flower opening, Redmayne ducks his eyes and turns his head as Lili, his confidence growing in tandem with the rolling boil of Alexandre Desplat’s strings and piano score.

Though his first attempt at makeup looks rather grotesque, he becomes quite the pro (with an assist from actual pro Jan Sewell, who also designed the star’s prosthetics in “The Theory of Everything”), upstaging the other women whenever he goes out in public. At first, the goal is simply to pass — a game, almost — but in time, the butterfly motif becomes clear, reflected in the pic’s ripening color scheme. By the end, the goal is complete and total transformation as Einar studies the body language of the women around him and incorporates them into what for Redmayne is a character, but for Lili is her true self.

September 4, 2015   Ali   Articles & Interviews, Danish Girl Comments Off on Director Tom Hooper Has Defended His Decision To Hand British Actor Eddie Redmayne The Lead Role In The Danish Girl

Some were hesitant about Eddie taking the part of the lead in a film about a transgender and felt a transgenered actor should have the opportunity, but Tom Hooper sticks to his decision and explains why.

In the new drama, The Theory of Everything actor plays Einar Wegener, one of the world’s first-known recipients of gender reassignment surgery who became a woman named Lili Elbe.

The casting has been criticised by several activists who claim the role should have been played by a member of the transgender community, but director Hooper is adamant Redmayne was the right choice.

He tells Screendaily.com, “Eddie was really the person I wanted to make the film with, and I was very passionate about that. I was a great believer in him as an actor. I think also there’s a certain gender fluidity that I sensed in him, that I found intriguing… I felt that there was something in him that was drawn to the feminine…

“I think there’s a tremendous pool of talented trans actors out there, and I think there’s probably a journey to go on to make sure that talented trans actors have the same access to opportunities both in front of and behind the character as cisgendered actors.

“I hope we’re at the beginning of a revolution that will improve access for trans actors and trans filmmakers – but there’s a long way to go.”

The Danish Girl is due for release in the U.S. in November (15) and in the U.K. in January (15).


September 4, 2015   Ali   Articles & Interviews, Danish Girl Comments Off on ‘Danish Girl’ Producer: “The Timing Couldn’t Have Been Better” for a Transgender Film

The Hollywood Reporter shared this story talking with the producer of the film about the timing of this film being released.

The biopic, starring Eddie Redmayne as the first known recipient of gender realignment surgery, has its world premiere in Venice on Saturday.

With transgender issues having risen to the forefront of topical debate, the arrival of Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl, looks like an expert piece of scheduling.

But the film, a biopic of Danish artist Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of gender realignment surgery, has been in the pipeline since 2009, going through several changes of script, cast and directors before finally coming together in its current form.

Speaking ahead of The Danish Girl’s world premiere in Venice on Saturday, one of the film’s producers admits that luck has played a major part in helping it land at just the moment when everyone is talking about the subject.

“It’s just one of those good pieces of zeitgeist and good fortune,” Tim Bevan, co-chair of Working Title tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s something that Tom Hooper had on his radar for some time, but the timing couldn’t have been better.”

Indeed, Caitlyn Jenner’s June 1 Vanity Fair cover announced transgender’s arrival in the cultural mainstream. There is unprecedented visibility for transgender characters in film and TV, from Jeffrey Tambor’s Golden Globe-winning performance in Amazon series Transparent to Jared Leto’s Oscar-winning turn as a transgender woman dying of AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, to the breakout success of transgender actress Laverne Cox in Netflix’ Orange is the New Black. Already, The Danish Girl is being touted as an Oscar contender.

Bevan says the fortunate timing of the film’s release may help The Danish Girl at the box office as well, since transgender issues are now part of the general conversation.

“A whole of lot of education (on transgender issues) has gone on that the film doesn’t have to do,” he says.

Following on from disaster epic Everest, which opened Venice on Wednesday, The Danish Girl gives Working Title two major titles appearing at the festival, and both with serious awards season potential.

“We’ve never done a double whammy before,” admits Bevan. “But we’ve had good runs from Venice before, with the likes of Tinker Tailor (Soldier Spy). Having done this a few times, you know that all the films are at least good.”