Ready For Change: “The Danish Girl” Film Screening | The American Word

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Ready For Change: “The Danish Girl” Film Screening

Jaclyn Merica | 11/28/15 7:49pm
| Updated 11/28/15 8:14pm

Jaclyn Merica /
American Word Magazine

Actors and transgender advocates came together for the screening of the new film “The Danish Girl” at the United States Navy Memorial earlier this week, discussing transgender issues as they ate hors-d’oeuvres and sipped cocktails.

Stars of “The Danish Girl”- such as Alicia Vikander and Tom Hooper- and “Transparent”- including Jeffrey Tambour, Melora Hardin, and Amy Landecker- took to the red carpet to discuss transgender issues, each expressing how adamantly they felt about the group’s rights.

“Everyone is essentially the same,” said Amy Landecker, “Once you understand that, that’s when lines get taken away and barriers begin to be broken down.”

The film, out December 10 in Washington, D.C., follows Einar Wegener, played by Eddie Redmayne, as the first recipient of a male to female gender confirmation surgery. Wegener’s interest in becoming a woman is catalyzed when his wife, played by Vikander, asks him to stand in for a female model in one of her portraits. As Wegener poses for more and more portraits as a woman, he develops a fondness for living his life in that way, and he chooses to transition into a woman named Lili Elbe. The film introduces a new narrative that we are all people trying to be people and live in the most organic way possible.

Screenwriter Lucinda Coxon began developing the script 11 years ago, and initially, no one was interested in the movie. At that time, Coxon was told “nobody wants to see subject matter, it’s commercial poison, and nobody is interested in trans issues.” However, she feels the film could not have been released at a better moment.

“Trans people are much more visible than before, and we’re in a period of adjustment,” says Coxon. “The climate is right for a film like [The Danish Girl] to affect a variety of audiences.”

Vikander said it is important to draw a distinction between sexuality and gender in order to understand the film. One’s sexuality refers to the sex of those to whom one is sexually attracted to, while gender refers to the expected behavior associated with being male or female. Vikander feels transgender people need to “find the ability to express themselves” freely outside of societal norms, and the film urges viewers to consider that idea. Vikander stressed that the film is an intimate look into a couple’s journey together, like many other love stories.

Director Tom Hooper said making the movie was a learning experience was for him. When he became involved in the project seven years ago, transgender issues were still somewhat unknown to the public.

“It was a very compelling opportunity because transgender narratives was not in the zeitgeist,” said Hooper. “It has been an amazing education for me. What’s remarkable is how generous the trans community has been to help us produce our film in the most accurate way possible.”

The insight members of the trans community gave to Hooper, Vikander and Redmayne made the film as authentic as possible. The transgender community’s eagerness to provide stories shows their feeling that it is time to be represented fairly.

The stars spent the day at The White House discussing Champions of Change, a new initiative that honors pivotal LGBTQ artists. The White House’s acknowledgement of transgender issues signifies an evolution of cultural norms and views. On the red carpet, each celebrity noted how fitting it is to honor individuals trying to end cultural stigmas.

“The world is ready for us and is ready for a change” said “Transparent” actress Melora Hardin.