Gina Mei
September 03, 2015 5:51 am

Earlier this year, we saw the first images of Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl; and now, we have the much-discussed film’s first trailer.

Based on the book of the same name, the film follows a fictionalized story of Lili Elbe (Redmayne), one of the first transgender women to receive sexual reassignment surgery. Alongside Redmayne’s Elbe, Alicia Vikander plays Elbe’s wife, the artist Gerda Wegener; and the trailer gives us our first glimpse at their dynamic and marriage.

The Danish Girl has been a long time in the making. Talks about the film began in 2009, and over the last six years, quite a few actors have been attached to the project — including Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uma Thurman, and Charlize Theron. Thomas Alfredson (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) was originally set to direct, but due to scheduling conflicts, was replaced by the great Tom Hooper, whose directing credits include The King’s Speech and Les Misérables.

The film has not been without controversy. As many have rightly pointed out, The Danish Girl follows a long history of cis actors being cast in trans roles — while often denying trans actors the same opportunities. Even more problematic, these cis actors are often praised and rewarded for their performances while trans actors are relegated to the sidelines. Most recently, Jared Leto won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for playing a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club; and Jeffrey Tambor won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for playing Maura Pfefferman on Transparent. This is not to discount their incredible skill, but it’s worth questioning why trans actors so rarely get the same opportunities.

Redmayne himself addressed the controversy earlier this year in multiple interviews, most notably telling The Telegraph, “There is an incredibly valid discussion for why a trans actress isn’t playing the part, because there are so many brilliant trans actresses, and I’m sure there are many who could play this part sensationally.”

We don’t doubt that Redmayne will be wonderful in The Danish Girl, as he is an incredibly talented human capable of tackling many challenging roles. If the trailer is any indication, this film will be no exception. But hopefully, the casting choice will also help us to start a discussion surrounding our ever important need for diversity in Hollywood.

The Danish Girl hits theaters November 27.

(Image via video.)

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