The Danish Girl "a mistake"?

Eddie Redmayne now says it was a mistake to have played the Danish Girl. Do you agree?

I have grave doubts if suddenly we are living in a world where actors have to “be in real life” what they are portraying.

Surely, the whole skill of an actor is that ability to sink themselves into a role, to interpret it and to “make” the character theirs. I actually think he was superb in it - not least he was so beautiful and tentative and fey. I think it is sad that he now is saying he would not accept it if they were casting it today. We would have missed a beautiful performance - and that, after all, surely, is what is being created and is a reflection of his great talent.


You are right - and are they going to hire actual murderers for crime films? What utter reductive nonsense.


Would it be acceptable for a white actor to “blackface” to play a black part?

As someone with Asperger’s I find (e.g.) the Big Bang Show quite insulting as the lead is played by a neurotypical actor. Because there is just so much that is wrong about his performance that shows that he is, at the end of the day, just acting. While I agree that it is not impossible for an NT actor to play someone on the autistic spectrum (Hoffman was, genuinely, inspirational in Rain Man) it is harder than most people suppose.

Similarly it is difficult for an able bodied actor to play people with a disability.

Why is it such a stretch to think that someone who is not transgender can only scratch the surface of a transgender character?

I wonder if he wiuld also turn down “The theory of everything” after all he isn’t in a wheelchair so must be upsetting to wheelchair bound people?

Oh but they don’t figure as highly as able bodired trans people.

One must suspend all rational thought when dealing with the arts. A Shakesperian theatre is modifying the plays to remove gender and racial stereotypes. Fine but people are paying to watch Shakespeare’s plays not some modern woke interpretation.


Dustin Hoffman has long been known as one of method acting’s most earnest exponents. A showbiz story involves his collaboration with Laurence Olivier on the 1976 film Marathon Man. Upon being asked by his co-star how a previous scene had gone, one in which Hoffmann’s character had supposedly stayed up for three days, Hoffmann admitted that he too had not slept for 72 hours to achieve emotional verisimilitude. “My dear boy,” replied Olivier smoothly, “why don’t you just try acting?”


Shakespeare has for a long time been re-interpreted in various productions so there is something of a tradition there. Removing stereotypes might be questionable though - Shylock is Shylock precisely because he is a caricature.

Personally I would rather see the play prefaced by one of the actors discussing for 10 minutes r so why the characters are as they are and why we should think abut their portrayal, rather than just inexplicably change the play.

For true shakespearean authenticity the female parts should be played by males too. :wink:

There’s a balance to be had for these things. Could Idris Elba really play James Bond, or John Hurt be Nelson Mandela? Yet at the same time the people need to act - to be someone other than themselves - which some film stars never manage while others carry it off so well.

Interestingly I think the answer to the first of these questions is “yes” - Bond does not *need* to be white (IMO, obviously).

Unfortunately Mandela does need to be black which would rather rule Hurt out, however good an actor he might have been - although the fact that Hurt is no longer among us rules him out somewhat more forcibly.

A harder question is “could Bond be played by a woman” - largely I think that the answer to that one is “no”.

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If 007 Bond does not need to be white, then he does not need to be male and isn’t in the new film Lashana Lynchis the first Black 007.

I think he does need to be male - a hard drinking, loner, misogynist woman would be hard to pull off but remove those elements and you don’t have “Bond”.

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Anyone can play an SIS operative with the 007 designation IF said designation isn’t retired when the original holder is retired. The last Bond film shows a new operative has been given the 007 designation.

The gender, race, religion and sexual orientation of the new 007 is totally irrelevant.

What you can’t do without taking a big steaming dump on the entire Ian Fleming Bond cannon is have anyone but a white male former RN Commander play an SIS operative named James Bond with the designation 007.

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I may have known a couple like that but yes, it wouldn’t be Bond. As for a black Bond, no, that is no more appropriate than a white man playing Mandela to me.

I like that they’ve apparently moved the franchise on so that they can continue the line without fudging both a race and sex change for the original character. The new agent can then have their own stories instead of trying to fit a female actress into a male character.

If I had a choice and Bond HAD to be black then I’d prefer it to be Chiwetel Ejiofor anyway.


I’m waiting for the thought/fashion police to come and tell me that I should not have worn those turquoise leather hot pants back in the year dot.
Thank goodness there were no mobile phones then, although I wouldn’t have been able to afford one anyway.
Perhaps we are all guilty for watching the Black and White Minstrel show?
The cricket player who was calling out Yorkshire for racial discrimination, now says that he is gulity of
abusing Jews when he was younger.
Just how far are we going to back or criticise people for their choices and not recognise that perhaps times have changed, or as Sue says use their skill to portray a character?

The films have moved on though and kept only loosely to the books anyway (even before the latest - which I’ve not seen - opens up the pathway to a new 007 who is not Bond judging by the comments in this thread).

It is a personal matter though, as Ancient_Mariner alludes.

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My challenge at the moment is that we are in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water. And yes, there maybe times when a particular casting is a mistake and a stretch too far.
Olivier blacked up as Othello looks hammy and to our modern perspective perhaps too much like the Black & White Minstrels - but then his (over?) acting is perhaps not standing the test of time in any role, unlike some (James Stewart for example).
So, maybe not Olivier, but Ben Kinsley as Gandhi? Again, surely, a rich, nuanced performance.
Fiona Shaw as Richard II? An extract from a FT article I think sums it up well …

Shakespeare’s plays are replete with cross-dressing and gender-bending. Two of his loveliest comedies, Twelfth Night and As You Like It, depend on the confusions and revelations that arise from female characters disguising themselves as men. But the biggest roles – Hamlet, Lear, Prospero, Macbeth, Richard III – are all male. Over the years leading female actors have rebelled against convention and taken them on: Vanessa Redgrave played Prospero, Fiona Shaw and Cate Blanchett tackled Richard II and the roll call of those who have played Hamlet includes Asta Nielsen, Sarah Siddons, Angela Winkler and Frances de la Tour.

My concern is that current mores seem to be leading us in one direction - thus black actors can now play “white” parts, women can now play “male” parts, but the white male actor has to tread so warily, apologise for his “mistakes” in the past and be squeezed into a smaller world.

I wonder if Olympia Dukakis would have ever felt the need to apologise for playing Anna Madrigal in Tales of the City. I doubt it. I would have hoped we lived in a world where Eddie Redmayne could have felt the same.


I agree. There’s a strong taste of “We are the masters now” in all this.

But - like politicians - most big name actors and actresses live in a precious microcosm where the problems of the real world never intrude. They end up expending nervous energy on stuff that is ridiculous.

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Lets start with the Romans or Pharoh, :joy:


Also Michelle Terry very recently.

Did James Stewart play Othello? Or any Shakespeare? The Man From Laramie is often compared to King Lear (far-fetched imho) but it is still a western, not Shakespeare.

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Surely the central issues here are…

  1. Women were played by men, black characters were played by white people, disabled people were played by non-disabled - unsurprisingly, out-of-work female, black or disabled actors see this as unjust, and part of a wider social exclusion. However, a better solution than always having a real-life actor with the same sex/colour/disability/whatever as the required character, would surely be to open up all characters to all actors, and let us in the audience use out imaginations a bit more. I recently saw on television the English queen Anne Boleyn played by a black actor. It was good.
  2. There is a trend towards superficial verisimilitude today that goes against the common sense above - exemplified for example in more and more ‘realistic’ make-up, voicing, special effects, etc - but these things don’t in my view matter much to the real experience of the arts - indeed they are just part of the hollywoodisation of art. Do we really need a mimic under prostheses to make us believe we are watching the real Churchill, or whoever? Is that really the point?
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