In an ever more considerate and empathetic society that is continually trying to elevate the voices of those who have previously been repressed, conversations about the casting of actors for sensitive roles has caused much controversy. From the case of Maddie Ziegler playing an autistic girl in Sia’s Music to Jared Leto playing a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club, it is becoming increasingly more complicated for actors to take on such challenging roles, particularly with individuals with the knowledge of the lived experience waiting in the wings.
Eddie Redmayne has reflected on such a topic by addressing his appearance playing a trans woman in The Danish Girl by Tom Hooper calling the role “a mistake”. Playing the role of Lili Elbe, one of the first known transgender people to have gone through gender reassignment surgery, Redmayne was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal.
Questioned by The Sunday Times as to why a trans-woman wasn’t cast in the lead role, the actor reflected on his time in the film and stated, “No, I wouldn’t take it on now…I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake”.
Continuing, the actor added: “The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don’t have a chair at the table. There must be a levelling, otherwise we are going to carry on having these debates.”
The lead star of the Harry Potter spin-off series Fantastic Beasts, Eddie Redmayne has also previously addressed the public views of author J.K. Rowling toward the transgender community. Speaking to Variety back in 2020, the actor noted, “As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand…I disagree with Jo’s comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and non-binary identities are valid”.
The final film of the trilogy, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is due for release in April 2022 and stars Mads Mikkelsen, Jude Law, Eddie Redmayne and Ezra Miller. Take a look at the trailer for the series’ second film, Crimes Of Grindelwald, below.