Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne cuts a slender figure at the best of times. Now movie-goers can be prepared to watch him go one step further in the name of his art.
For new movie The Danish Girl, Redmayne will play transgender artist Lili Elbe, who, in 1930, became one of the first people to become a woman through surgery.
One source told The Sun newspaper the following.
"He's on a strict diet and has been noticeably thinner. He kept it under wraps during his promotional duties and Oscar campaign. But back in the UK, he'll be working fast to shift the rest of the weight."It's also been reported that Redmayne has been working closely with transgender groups in a bid to get him into the role and help him to "embody the character," according to the source.
One of the first identifiable recipients of sex reassignment surgery, Lili Elbe was born in Denmark and became a successful artist under that name. However, following the surgery, she changed her name and gave up painting.
Redmayne will be playing Elbe following the surgery, which in 1930 was experimental. Five operations were said to have been carried out on Elbe over a period of two years, with the first removing testicles and the second removing the penis and transplanting ovaries, which were extracted in following operations due to serious complications.
Having already shown that he is not an actor to shirk a major physical bodily challenge, as proven by his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, Redmayne looks set to be pushed to acting extremes once again.
Potential movie spoilers follow.
Elbe's surgery attracted major media attention for the time – at least one thing Redmayne will be used to, becoming a sensation throughout Danish and German newspapers. Her first marriage was invalidated by the King of Denmark, but Elbe successfully and legally managed to change her sex and name.
She accepted a proposal from an unknown man after the invalidation, which it was said that she wanted to honour in order to become a mother. A fifth operation to transplant a uterus was intended to allow Elbe to become a mother. She was by then almost 50 and soon after died of transplant rejection.
If Redmayne and his agent were seeking another meaty challenge after playing Stephen Hawking, it seems like he found it with The Danish Girl. Unlikely to be as hopeful and uplifting as The Theory Of Everything, this movie doesn't promise to be a riot of laugh out loud comedy.
But for those craving a physically wafer thin Redmayne unflinchingly confronting existential issues of 1930s gender and social acceptance, it could be just want you're after.
[Image - Rex]