In a recent conversation with The Guardian, the Hamlet famed actor, Ben Whishaw was asked about his co-star Eddie Redmayne who was cast alongside him in his 2015’s film The Danish Girl where Ben played the role of Henrik Sandahl, the boyfriend of a transgender woman named Lili Elbe.
The Danish Girl is a biographical romantic drama film that was directed by Tom Hooper. The movie was based on the novel of the same title written by David Ebershoff and circled the lives of Danish painters Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Whishaw played the role of a supporting actor.
In his most recent conversation, he was asked whether Redmayne brought justice to his character of the trans pioneer Lili Elbe in the 2015 Academy Award-nominated film, The Danish Girl or not.
Whishaw praised Eddie’s performance and commented, “I think Eddie did a beautiful job. And it’s done. Going forward, there will be other films in which the role is given to someone who lived that experience.”
While giving the praise where it is due, the actor also talked about how these roles should be played by those who have lived through this experience. Whishaw himself belong to the LGBTQ community as he came out as gay in 2014 when he publically discussed his coming out, saying that it was a tense experience for him but “everyone was surprisingly lovely”
His comments regarding these roles read, “Why shouldn’t a role like that be given to someone who knows, inside, what the character is? I’m all for that.” He also discussed his feelings when he watches straight men playing characters that they have no experience with. He said, “I feel the same, sometimes, about straight actors playing gay parts. I’m critical if I don’t think the performance is, from my subjective experience, accurate. I might think, ‘I don’t believe you!’ And even a small moment of hesitation or inauthenticity will block my engagement with the whole story. So I understand these questions.”
He also talked about how these questions are turned into serious debates in a matter of seconds and arguing over these black and white things can result in many arguments and unnecessary disagreements. He concluded this discussion by saying, “Have a discussion! There can be disagreement! There can be different points of view! I’m on the side of listening to each other. And I’m on the side of forgiving each other. We have to believe in listening and forgiveness.”