It’s hard to imagine a better year for the release of Tom Hooper’s upcoming biopic The Danish Girl than 2015. Coming on the heels of the groundbreaking depictions of trans protagonists in shows like Transparent and Orange Is the New Black—not to mention the real-life, high-profile coming out of Caitlyn Jenner—trans issues have never been so discussed in the media and popular culture. When could be better, then, to bring to the big screen the true story of one of the first people to undergo gender confirmation surgery?
Eddie Redmayne will play Lili Elbe, the titular Danish girl and artist who underwent the surgery. Redmayne also starred in Hooper’s Les Misérables as Marius, and of course is coming off his Best Actor win at the Oscars for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. According to the director, “there’s a certain gender fluidity that I sensed in him, that I found intriguing and it led me to think he might be a really interesting person to cast in this role.” Alicia Vikander (who herself is fresh off wowing critics with her performance as an android in Ex Machina) will play Redmayne’s wife, Gerda Wegener. The project has been in the works for some time, and was originally going to star two women—Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow were once set to start together—before it fell into Hooper’s hands.
Hooper is an Academy favorite (he won Best Director for The King’s Speech), and Redmayne is already tipped to be one of the frontrunners once again in the Best Actor race. We’ll see whether he’ll deserve a repeat when the movie opens on Nov. 27.