Edward John David “Eddie” Redmayne was born on 6 January 1982. He is an English actor, singer and model. He started his professional career as an actor in both theater and television roles in the early 2000s and then made his film debut, Like Minds, in 2006. He joins the ranks of British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who got their share of popularity a bit late, but once they did, there was no turning back.
He has since appeared in such prominent films as The Good Shepherd (2006), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), My Week with Marilyn (2011), Les Misérables (2012), The Theory of Everything (2014), and Jupiter Ascending (2014). Redmayne received universal critical acclaim for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, the Golden Globe Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award and the BAFTA Award.
And now, new pictures of him from the set of his latest movie have surfaced. He has been spotted getting into character for another challenging role, as he plays transgender artist Einar Wegener, later known as Lili Elbe, in The Danish Girl.
The Danish Girl, adapted from David Ebershoff’s novel and directed by Tom Hooper, is the story of Elbe, who became one of the world’s first known recipients of this type of surgery. She was born in Denmark as Einar Mogens Wegener and underwent a series of then experimental operations in Berlin in 1930-31. Organ rejection following an attempt to transplant a uterus resulted in her death in 1931.
The movie, set in the 1920s, is a love story about how Wegener, a painter, was persuaded by his wife Gerda Waud (played by Alicia Vikander) – who was also an artist – to pose for her in women’s clothes after one of her models failed to show. In time, he became Lili and started on the transformation into a woman.
The look and character are a far cry from his recent portrayal of Stephen Hawking. Incidentally, movement director, Alexandra Reynolds, who also helped him choreograph his movements as Hawking in The Theory of Everything, is helping him catch the minute details of the character Lili. Eddie says that he has been ‘observing the minutiae of feminine physicality’.
‘We’re looking at everything from a feminine perspective,’ he explained in an interview to the Daily Mail. Eddie called the true story of Wegener and his wife Gerda a study of ‘authenticity, identity and love’. ‘I think it’s the most sensitive role I have played,’ the 33-year-old actor added.
He said he had spoken with members of the trans community, to research his role. ‘The danger of surgery was so extreme then,’ Eddie said. ‘It’s such a brave thing that Einar did.’
The entire notion of undergoing surgery to change one’s gender was largely unheard of at that time and the general public wasn’t sensitized to the concept of sexual orientation and transgenders.
Even now they’re eyed differently , but the society at large is more forthcoming about accepting individuals for who they are rather than what they are. But we’re still miles off from balancing everyone in the same scale, and ending this social prejudice once and for all.
The recent times have shown celebrities like Bruce Jenner (from Keeping Up With the Kardashians) and Laverne Cox (of Orange is the New Black fame) express themselves as transgenders.
It’s about time we treat them with the same respect that is deserved by every human and respect the fact that anyone’s sexual orientation is their own personal business and that our actions towards them should be solely based on their behavior towards and not the other way round.
It’s a diverse world out there, let’s observe it without being judgmental of the things that do not harm us. Let’s learn to be a bit more tolerant and compassionate. The world needs love.
Hope this movie instills in us the fear of struggle for one’s own identity. The movie will be coming out this year end, and I for one will count days until its release. Here’s hoping it gets Eddie another Oscar !
By- Navni Bhatia