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Eddie Redmayne shrugs off Oscar 'buzz' around transgender role


Eddie Redmayne stars as Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne stars as Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne stars as Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne has brushed aside suggestions that his latest role as a transgender artist could land him his second Best Actor Oscar.

The British star, 33, who won an Academy Award in February for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything said Lili Elbe, who he plays in The Danish Girl, was "an icon of the 20th century".

But asked at the Toronto Film Festival about the "buzz" surrounding his performance and the Oscars, he said: "As far as I am concerned it has been such a long road to coming out into the world that frankly the fact that people are beginning to see it means everything to us."

Elbe was born Einar Wegener and underwent a series of operations in the early 1930s to become a woman.

Old Etonian Redmayne was approached with the script for the film by director Tom Hooper while they were on the set of Les Miserables in 2008 and the star said producers had been working on the film for the past 15 years.

He described Elbe, who died in 1931 aged 48 as "an extraordinarily courageous and brilliant woman", adding: "She (Lily) is an icon of the 20th century, she is an extraordinarily courageous and brilliant woman. But also for me it was the love story. It was like this notion that love shouldn't be limited to gender, to sexuality, to race, to anything. It is about these two souls that meet and about Lily's courage to live a life authentic. I found that very inspiring."

Redmayne, who will also star as Newt Scamander in Warner Bros' upcoming big-screen adaptation of JK Rowling's Harry Potter spin-off film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, said he and the cast and crew spent a year speaking to transgender people ahead of the film, and had been struck by their "generosity and their kindness".

:: The Danish Girl will be released in UK cinemas on January 1.

PA Media