The Danish Girl director Tom Hooper has defended Eddie Redmayne’s casting as transgender artist Lili Elbe in the upcoming biopic, saying the actor landed the role thanks to his "certain gender fluidity”. Some trans activists had criticised Redmayne’s casting in the film, arguing that trans roles should be reserved for trans actors.

The Danish GirlEddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.

Speaking to Screen Daily Hooper said, “Eddie was really the person I wanted to make the film with, and I was very passionate about that. I was a great believer in him as an actor."

“I think also there’s a certain gender fluidity that I sensed in him, that I found intriguing and it led me to think he might be a really interesting person to cast in this role. I felt that there was something in him that was drawn to the feminine,” Hooper added. “That was something that I felt he might be interested to explore further.”

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However Hooper did add that he thought more could be done by the film industry to cast trans actors. “I think there’s a tremendous pool of talented trans actors out there, and I think there’s probably a journey to go on to make sure that talented trans actors have the same access to opportunities both in front of and behind the character as cisgendered actors,” Hooper said.

“I hope we’re at the beginning of a revolution that will improve access for trans actors and trans filmmakers - but there’s a long way to go,” the director added. The film has already cast a number of trans actors in supporting roles.

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Redmayne was helped to prepare for the role by trans activist Paris Lees, who last month spoke to Out magazine about Redmayne’s casting. “As a trans woman, I don’t think that if and when they make a biopic of my life I would want a cisgender man playing me,” Lees said.

“Politically, it makes me groan. But if anybody’s going to do this justice, then I’m happy it’s Eddie. We had a good chat about everything,” Lees added. The Danish Girl is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival on 5 September and will be on limited release from November 27th.