According to a transgender scientist, Eddie Redmayne had the right to play the transgender Lili Elbe role in The Danish Girl. This despite Redmayne claiming this week that it was a mistake.

Redmayne was 39 years old when he played Elbe. He is thought to be the first person to experience sex reassignment in 2015. 

Speaking to The Times ahead of his role in Cabaret in the West End, where he plays Emcee, a gender fluid character, Redmayne said he thought The Danish Girl had ‘the best intentions’ but that, with hindsight, he shouldn’t have been cast in the role. 

However, transgender physicist and journalist Debbie Hayton, writing in The Spectator this week, disagreed, saying the actor was right to take on the role and compared it to him pretending to be physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

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Eddie Redmayne, 39, played transgender artist Lili Elbe, thought to be one of the first people to have sex reassignment surgery, in 2015 film The Danish Girl - but told The Times that taking the role was a 'mistake'

Eddie Redmayne, 39, played transgender artist Lili Elbe, thought to be one of the first people to have sex reassignment surgery, in 2015 film The Danish Girl – but told The Times that taking the role was a ‘mistake’

Trans physicist, writing in the Spectator this week, defended the casting of Redmayne in the film saying she failed to see how him playing Stephen Hawking in The theory of Everything was any different to playing Elbe

Trans physicist writes in the Spectator that Redmayne was cast in The Theory of Everything. She claims she didn’t see why he playing Stephen Hawking in The theory of Everything was different from Elbe.

Hayton said 'Redmayne should ignore these voices of dissent' and praised the actor's portrayal of Elbe, saying: 'a lesser actor (or actress) would have struggled to emulate'

Hayton said ‘Redmayne should ignore these voices of dissent’ and praised the actor’s portrayal of Elbe, saying: ‘a lesser actor (or actress) would have struggled to emulate’

Hayton wrote that he transitioned to transgender status in 2012. In my experience as a transphysicist, I don’t see any difference between the two movies, except for the assumption that trans people are different from other humans. 

“We are human beings, just as everybody else. Therefore I support our rights to exist in society the same way everyone else.

At the time of the The Danish Girl’s release, critics said the role of Elbe should have been played by a trans actor, and Redmayne told The Times this week: ‘No, I wouldn’t take it on now. Although I had the best intentions when making that movie, I believe it was an error.

He continued: ‘The bigger discussion about the frustrations around casting is because many people don’t have a chair at the table. We will continue having these discussions without a real leveling of the playing field. 

Hayton responded to critics of Redmayne’s role as an actor by saying: “Redmayne shouldn’t ignore these voices. Hayton said that Elbe was brought to life by his performance in a way no lesser actor or actress would be able to match.  

The Fantastic Beast actor said he wouldn't accept the role if it was offered to him now. Pictured in The Danish girl with Alicia Vikander

Fantastic Beast actor Michael Caine said he won’t take the role, even though it is being offered. Pictured here with Alicia Vikander, in The Danish Girl 

British actor Eddie Redmayne, 39, played transgender artist Lili Elbe, who is thought to be one of the first people to have sex reassignment surgery, alongside Alicia Vikander in the 2015 movie The Danish Girl. But he's now told the Times he thinks the role was a 'mistake.' (pictured in September 2019)

British actor Eddie Redmayne (39), played the role of Lili Elbe, transgender artist, and was reportedly one of the first to undergo sex reassignment. He also starred alongside Alicia Vikander, in 2015’s The Danish Girl. He now tells The Times that he believes the role was an error. (Photo taken September 2019, 

Hayton is a mother to three kids and has spoken out about the difficulties she has had with her transition. She wrote in her blog: “If I knew 2012 what I now know, would it still be possible for me to transition?” Honestly, I’m not sure.’  

Redmayne cast The Danish Girl in the casting of The Danish Girl. There was a debate at that time, and it still exists today.

Redmayne himself told IndieWire at the time: ‘I think it’s an incredibly important discussion. And I think it’s also representative of a lot of discrimination against trans people in the work place generally. 

‘I think there has been years of cisgender success on the back of trans stories.’ 

Scarlett Johansson was one of many who were criticised after they played LGBT+ characters.

In 2018, Johansson had to back down from playing transgender man Dante Gill, a.k.a. Tex, who ran a string of massage parlors in the 1970s and ’80s that became fronts for prostitution dens in a movie poised to be titled ‘Rub & Tug.’

Redmayne in the movie before Elbe's transition. The actor said trans actors should have a seat at th table when discussing representation

Redmayne before Elbe’s transformation. Redmayne said that trans people should be able to sit at the table and discuss representation.

‘While I would have loved the opportunity to bring Dante’s story and transition to life, I understand why many feel he should be portrayed by a transgender person, and I am thankful that this casting debate, albeit controversial, has sparked a larger conversation about diversity and representation in film,’ she said at the time. 

Johansson cast Gill as Gill when it was first announced. Trace Lysette wrote on Twitter: ‘Not only do you play us and steal our narrative and our opportunity but you pat yourselves on the back with trophies and accolades for mimicking what we have lived. 

After J.K Rowling’s tweet entitled “Creating a more egal post COVID-19 universe for menstruating women” (Tweeting Title: “Creating a more equitable post COVID-19 World for Menstruating Women”), the 2020 film The Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them Star joined the chorus of criticisms directed at Rowling, 54.

Rowling said: “People who have to menstruate.” There used to be a term for these people. Please help. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’

Eddie stated in Variety that he had worked with J.K. Rowling, as well…

“I want to clearly state my position. Jo’s comments are incorrect. Trans people are all women. Trans men are men.

Rowling’s comments about transphobia caused an uproar among the community, her peers and supporters.

Eddie, who starred as Newt in Fantastic Beasts’ series, has been working for Rowling since 2016.

The entire statement was written by him: “Respect for Transgender People remains a Cultural Imperative, and I have tried to continuously educate myself over the years… 

“This is an ongoing effort. J.K. Rowling’s transgender colleagues and I want to be clear about where my position is. Jo’s comment is incorrect.

“Trans men are trans women and men are trans women. Non-binary identities can be valid. Although I wouldn’t want to be a spokesperson for the community, I know my transgender friends are fed up with this incessant questioning about their identities. This often leads to violence and abuse.

“They just want peace in their lives, so it is time for us to allow them to do that.