Eddie Redmayne, who won the Best Actor Oscar in 2015 for his portrayal of ALS-stricken physicist/cosmologist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, will soon appear on screen as a very different historical figure.
Bartender Academy, make that a double.
In The Danish Girl, which hits theaters November 27, 2015, Redmayne plays Lili Elbe, a famous artist who is best known as one of the first confirmed recipients of sexual reassignment surgery. Elbe hailed from Denmark and was born anatomically male. She went by her given name (Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener) for much of her early life, but eventually discovered her desire to be treated as a female. At age 47, she began undergoing a physical transformation, which included a change in her anatomical gender.
The film is based on a novel of the same name by David Ebershoff and the trailer was released today. In it, Redmayne seems to slip into the skin of the conflicted/courageous Elbe, who (***SPOILER ALERT***) ultimately died from complications of her sexual reassignment.
After watching even a small clip, it’s no surprise that Hollywood is already buzzing about the potential for back-to-back Oscars for Redmayne. Were he to take home the statue again, he would join Spencer Tracy (Manuel in Captains Courageous; Father Flanagan in Boys Town) and Tom Hanks (Andrew Beckett in Phillidelphia; Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump) as the only others to win twice in a row, and would also be the youngest to ever accomplish the feat.
Hype aside, it does feel like America is ready for this film. Whether you followed Caitlyn Jenner’s transformation or not, LBGT issues are on the national consciousness … and we all know the Academy has historically rewarded relevant social commentary (Sean Penn’s turn in Milk comes to mind).
Of course, we’re all getting a bit ahead of ourselves. For now, just enjoy the trailer (embedded above), which hints at a heart-wrenching love story about honesty, self-discovery, and acceptance. Get your handkerchiefs ready.
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) also stars and Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) directed the film. That’s a pretty formidable team, and it will be a bit of a surprise if this one isn’t nominated for some serious hardware.