To portray the transgender artist in “The Danish Girl,” Eddie Redmayne built the character from the inside out. He started by poring over Lili Elbe’s pseduo-autobiography “Man Into Woman,” chronicling her groundbreaking 1920s gender reassignment surgeries, and studying sketches of her.
The real life Lili was a Danish transgender woman who was born as Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener. An artist, Lili stopped painting after her reassignment surgery, severing all ties from her former identity. Born in 1882, Lili underwent four operations beginning in 1930. She passed away in 1931 three months after her final surgery. The Danish Girl, which also stars Ben Whishaw, is based on the book by David Ebershoff, in turn inspired by real life events.