‘Danish Girl’ Producer: “The Timing Couldn’t Have Been Better” for a Transgender Film

Courtesy of Working Title Films

The biopic, starring Eddie Redmayne as the first known recipient of gender realignment surgery, has its world premiere in Venice on Saturday.

With transgender issues having risen to the forefront of topical debate, the arrival of Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl, looks like an expert piece of scheduling.

But the film, a biopic of Danish artist Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of gender realignment surgery, has been in the pipeline since 2009, going through several changes of script, cast and directors before finally coming together in its current form.

Speaking ahead of The Danish Girl’s world premiere in Venice on Saturday, one of the film’s producers admits that luck has played a major part in helping it land at just the moment when everyone is talking about the subject.

“It’s just one of those good pieces of zeitgeist and good fortune,” Tim Bevan, co-chair of Working Title tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s something that Tom Hooper had on his radar for some time, but the timing couldn’t have been better.”

Indeed, Caitlyn Jenner's June 1 Vanity Fair cover announced transgender's arrival in the cultural mainstream. There is unprecedented visibility for transgender characters in film and TV, from Jeffrey Tambor's Golden Globe-winning performance in Amazon series Transparent to Jared Leto's Oscar-winning turn as a transgender woman dying of AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, to the breakout success of transgender actress Laverne Cox in Netflix' Orange is the New Black. Already, The Danish Girl is being touted as an Oscar contender.

Bevan says the fortunate timing of the film's release may help The Danish Girl at the box office as well, since transgender issues are now part of the general conversation.

“A whole of lot of education (on transgender issues) has gone on that the film doesn’t have to do,” he says.

Following on from disaster epic Everest, which opened Venice on Wednesday, The Danish Girl gives Working Title two major titles appearing at the festival, and both with serious awards season potential.

“We’ve never done a double whammy before,” admits Bevan. “But we’ve had good runs from Venice before, with the likes of Tinker Tailor (Soldier Spy). Having done this a few times, you know that all the films are at least good.”

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