The last weeks of summer also mean that soon Fall – and with it, the Hollywood awards season – will be getting underway, sooner than later. Among the 2015 Oscar potentials already being talked-about is The Danish Girl, a film that reunites actor Eddie Redmayne (who won an Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything) with his Les Misérables director Tom Hooper (who won an Oscar for helming The King’s Speech) for a period drama inspired by real events.
Danish Girl is based on David Ebershoff’s 2000 novel of the same name, and tells a semi-fictionalized version of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe (Redmayne), who was born Einar Wegener. You can watch the new trailer for the film, above.
The Danish Girl trailer offers a fairly straight-forward rundown of the film’s narrative, chronicling Lili’s early days as the artist Einar and romance/marriage to fellow Danish artist Gerda Gottlieb – played by rising star Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) – to her eventual realization that she identifies as a different gender than the one assigned to her at birth. Ebershoff’s book was adapted for the screen by Lucinda Coxon – writer of The Heart of Me and Wild Target, who also did uncredited work on Guillermo del Toro’s Gothic horror/romance Crimson Peak – in what the trailer suggests should be a fairly loyal adaptation (again, based on Ebershoff’s partly-fictional version of Lili’s story).
Rounding out the Danish Girl cast are such actors as Ben Whishaw (Cloud Atlas, Skyfall), Amber Heard (The Rum Diary, 3 Days to Kill), Matthew Schoenaerts (The Drop, Far From the Madding Crowd), Emerald Fennell (Albert Nobbs, Anna Karenina), and Sebastian Koch (A Good Day to Die Hard, Bridge of Spies).
It’s a fair bet that Danish Girl will prompt controversy of some variety when it arrives in theaters, related to certain artistic choices – be it the decision to not have a transgender actor play Lili Elbe on the big screen or the cinematography by Hooper’s frequent collaborator, Danny Cohen (whose stylistic approach on movies like The King’s Speech and Les Misérables tends to divide cinephiles in particular). Nonetheless, Hooper’s new film has the benefit of timeliness on its side, since transgender rights are a topic that is currently in the spotlight, both in terms of public discussion and pop culture (see TV shows like Amazon’s award-winning Transparent or upcoming films like About Ray).
It’s certainly possible movies like The Danish Girl will ultimately tap into those discussions without adding or expanding upon them in a substantial manner, when all is said and done. Nevertheless, the trailer alone suggests Hooper’s film has the makings of a sensitive and moving portrayal of Lili Elbe’s story, as brought to life by talented artists working on both sides of the camera. Lili’s story is certainly one worthy of being told on the big screen, and it’s a testament to the changing times that such a film is even being made (with as prestigious a cast and director as this).
The Danish Girl opens in select U.S. theaters on November 27th, 2015.
Source: Focus Features