Ahead of the release of “The Danish Girl” in Japan, award-winning filmmaker Tom Hooper spoke with The Asahi Weekly on how he came to create a movie about Lili Elbe, the transgender woman and first person known to undergo gender reassignment surgery, and why the subject is close to his heart.
He said that he hopes audiences in Japan would see the underlying theme which is to embrace tolerance toward difference: “I don’t think any society was hurt by greater tolerance. If it (the film) opens up people’s minds to being more tolerant and more compassionate about difference and to see at the bottom we’re all souls struggling to be true to ourselves that would be a great thing.”
Q: Why do you think it took a long time to get the film off the ground?
A: Certainly the world has changed a lot in seven years. When I first started talking about it, “The Danish Girl” was seen as a hard film to finance, a hard film to cast. I think I talked about Eddie Redmayne, and everyone said “You’ll never finance a film with Eddie Redmayne,” and now, he’s won an Oscar (laughs). I think there has been a tipping-point moment in thinking about transgender issues, thanks to Caitlyn Jenner, and thanks to television like “Transparent.” There’s been such a great increase in awareness. So I think the film is now more in the zeitgeist than seven years ago, so in some ways we’ve been very lucky.