Even before the film’s release, there’s strong buzz that Redmayne could win back-to-back Oscars, and the 26-year-old Vikander will be in the running for a best supporting actress nomination.
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He started by poring over Lili Elbe’s pseduo-autobiography “Man Into Woman,” chronicling her groundbreaking 1920s gender reassignment surgeries, and studying sketches of her.
He read other books, such as the 1974 memoir “Conundrum” by transgender author Jan Morris, and watched the British TV series “My Transsexual Summer.” He even met separately with six transgender women from different generations to absorb their experiences.
“Their openness of spirit was unlike anything I’d ever seen,” Redmayne says on a recent afternoon near his home in London. Then there was the day last summer when he screen-tested as Lili.
It was stunning.” Just six months after he won the best-actor Oscar for portraying another real-life figure, Stephen Hawking, in “The Theory of Everything,” all eyes are back on Redmayne.
The 33-year-old British actor stars opposite Alicia Vikander in “The Danish Girl,” poised to be one of this year’s major Oscar contenders.
Directed by Tom Hooper, the dramatic love story about landscape artist Einar Wegener, who transitions to Lili with the help of wife Gerda (Vikander), debuted at the Venice Film Festival on Sept.5, and will make its North American premiere at Toronto this week, before opening in theaters on Nov. The arrival of the movie comes at a key moment in the careers of its two young stars.“That was galvanizing — you felt the trust.”This story first appeared in the September 08, 2015 issue of Variety. It was the first time he appeared in public as the character — wearing an auburn wig and lipstick.Like most transgender people stepping out for the first time, Redmayne felt self-conscious.“You walk in, and the crew is looking at you,” he recalls.“The feeling of being gazed at and scrutinized, and the fear… “The fear is there.” Eric Fellner, the co-chair of Working Title Films, which produced the million movie, recalls: “That was the moment Lili came to life.