Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne watches reality television.
But not just any reality television.
The celebrated actor is a fan of E!'s own I Am Cait.
"I have been following Caitlyn's journey as the rest of the world has," Redmayne told me at the Toronto International Film Festival while promoting his awards season buzzy film The Danish Girl. "Her story is such a unique story and her position is so unique, but what I found wonderful about I Am Cait is that she's used it as a platform to really shed light on some of the more important issues within the community...and also educating people on the fact that her story is...a very unique one."
For trans women of color or those without Jenner's financial means, it's a much different story. "If you don't have the wealth that she has, it could be even more complicated [with] access to health care and discrimination and all of those things, so I think [Jenner has] used her status incredibly well," Redmayne said. "It's really inspiring for me."
Creative Commons; Working Title Films
Redmayne stars in The Danish Girl as Lili Elbe, a trans woman who began transitioning in the 1920s with the support of her wife, fellow artist Gerda Gottlieb.
Oscar nomination talk for Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, who plays Gerda, began after the Tom Hooper-directed film picked up steam with its showing at TIFF after premiere at the Venice Film Festival last week.
I asked Redmayne what he would say to Lili if he had the chance to talk with her.
"I would tell her how extraordinary it is, from my perspective, that she had the sense of self and the belief in herself and the belief in living a life authentic...and what a courageously brilliant thing that was," Redmayne said.
While Redmayne makes no apologies for playing Lili, he understands the concern that trans actors are rarely are cast in leading trans roles. "I think it's a really very valid discussion," he said. "There have been years of cisgender success on the back of trans stories and certainly within Hollywood there needs to be more opportunity."
The Danish Girl, based on David Ebershoff's book of the same name, is in theaters Nov. 27.
(E! and Universal Pictures are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)