Based on the fact-based novel by David Ebershoff, The Danish Girl is gaining buzz for its emotionally-charged story of Redmayn’s character who struggles with internal demons that threatens his life while releasing the secret person inside.
The Danish Girl is set in Copenhagen in the 1920s and focuses on a free-spirited couple, both of them painters — he of delicate landscapes, she of portraits. Einar (Eddie Redmayne), has just had a successful gallery show, but Gerda (Alicia Vikander) struggles to gain attention for her work.
One day, Gerda asks her husband to stand in for a female model so she can complete her latest painting. Einar is overwhelmed by the experience of putting on beautiful, feminine clothes, and soon it turns into a quiet obsession. As Einar gradually rediscovers himself, Gerda’s paintings of him as a woman begin to attract serious attention. Gerda balances Einar’s transformation with her new-found acclaim. Einar, meanwhile, finds it impossible to put the genie back in the bottle: She will become Lili, one of the first known recipients of gender reassignment surgery.
“It was an extraordinary experience and it’s continuing to be,” Redmayne told EW. “You sort of learn something every day, really. It’s a very delicate and intricate piece. I had an extraordinary time making it.”
This enormous research also helped Redmayne with his transformation for the role, both physically and emotionally. “I didn’t understand that gender and sexuality were not related. I was utterly appalled at the statistics,” he told Variety. For his vocals, he turned to YouTube. “There are amazing tips on YouTube, in which you can take lessons in shifting your own voice,” he says. “And then I was like, ‘These are things that Lili wouldn’t have access to.’ For many trans women, it’s about being yourself, and not passing as someone else.”
The Danish Girl premieres during TIFF15.