The Danish Girl premiere: A chat with Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander and Matthias Schoenaerts
Less than a year since his award-winning performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, there is already talk of another Oscar nomination for Eddie Redmayne, although he attempts to downplay it. His role in The Danish Girl is not only attracting attention for the quality of his performance, but also for its significance in a social and cultural context. The story is based on the life of Lili Elbe, the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the 1930s. Redmayne ably portrays the emotional and psychological journey of self-discovery and acceptance that is part of the transgender experience. Extensive research coupled with the skill of director Tom Hooper, winner of several Academy Awards for The King’s Speech, allowed the cast to have a good grasp of the social implications behind the events and thus represent their characters with ease and true feeling.
The London premiere attracted many fans and it was a great opportunity for the cast to talk about the making of the film and discuss their own impressions of the story. Apart from Eddie Redmayne, who described the relationship between Lili and her wife Gerda as “one of the great love stories of the 20th century”, Alicia Vikander, who plays Gerda, spoke to us about unconditional love and the surprising and inspiring way in which her character handles her spouse’s transformation.
The actors confess that the filming was a process of discovery for them as they were not previously familiar with the realities they depicted. There is a perceptible satisfaction in bringing to the fore a delicate and hitherto ignored subject that is only now beginning to be gradually accepted by mainstream media.