Eddie Redmayne Opens Up About His 'Greatest Ignorance' Before Playing A Trans Woman

The Oscar-winning actor says he can "totally see that other people see a femininity in me."

For Eddie Redmayne, tackling the role of transgender icon Lili Elbe in "The Danish Girl" was "an extraordinary experience," but also a "delicate" and "complicated" process. 

The Academy Award-winning actor, 33, tells Out magazine that he sought extensive advice from transgender men and women, including "Cloud Atlas" director Lana Wachowski, for his role in the new movie, which is slated for a November release. He'd found himself so profoundly moved by the "Danish Girl" script, which he called "a piece about authenticity and love and the courage it takes to be yourself," and aimed to turn in a worthy performance that would respect that quality. 

"People were so kind and generous with their experience, but also so open," he told writer Paul Flynn for Out. "Virtually all of the trans men and women I met would say ‘Ask me anything.’ They know that need for cisgender people to be educated. I felt like, 'I’m being given this extraordinary experience of being able to play this woman, but with that comes this responsibility of not only educating myself but hopefully using that to educate [an audience].'" 

The role of Lili, he said, was personally enriching, too. In fact, there's one lesson he hopes to pay forward with his performance, which has already received ample buzz.  

"My greatest ignorance when I started was that gender and sexuality were related," he said. "And that’s one of the key things I want to hammer home to the world: You can be gay or straight, trans man or woman, and those two things are not necessarily aligned.” He added that he can "totally see that other people see a femininity in me," noting, "I was musical, and I was into theater and arts, but I was also into sports, so I had quite a broad spectrum." 

Head here to read the full Out magazine interview with Eddie Redmayne. 

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