The Danish Girl Director: Film Industry Has 'Problem' With Transgender Actors

Illustration for article titled iThe Danish Girl /iDirector: Film Industry Has Problem With Transgender Actors

Tom Hooper, director of the upcoming biopic The Danish Girl, said in an interview with the Guardian that the film industry has a “problem” with transgender actors:

“Access for trans actors to both trans and cisgender roles is utterly key. In the industry at the moment there is a problem: there is a huge pool of talent of trans actors, and access to parts is limited. I would champion any shift where the industry embraces trans actors. and celebrates trans film-makers .”


Hooper made the comments without directly addressing the criticism that The Danish Girl has received. The film tells the story of Lili Elbe, a trans painter who worked in 1930s Denmark, and has been roundly criticized for casting Eddie Redmayne as Elbe. Hooper also explained/defended his decision to cast Redmayne:

“There’s something in Eddie that is drawn to the feminine; he’s played women before, most notably Viola in Twelfth Night. In our film, Lili is presented as a man for two-thirds of the movie, and her transition happens quite late on, so that played a part in coming to a decision.”


The director noted that he did cast “40 or 50 trans supporting artists,” but added “I’m sure there’s more to do.”

Image via AP.

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many bells down wears many stupid hats

I kind of wonder, though, in a film where the main character presents as male for most of it - it seems like it might be traumatic for a trans woman, who has probably spent a long time getting her outward presentation to match her sense of self, to have to present as male again for so much of it. Although, you know, he should probably ASK some trans actors to find out first.

(I wondered that when I saw OINTB; when Laverne Cox’ character is still presenting as male. That was her twin brother in that role.)

I definitely look forward to the day when a trans person can get a regular cisgender role, though. Or if you’re going to cast a cis actor for a trans part, cast a cis woman to play a trans woman, at the very least. Casting a male is society saying “ha ha she’s really a dude.”