Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Working Title Films

Eddie Redmayne, who recently won an Oscar for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, underwent a major image transformation for his upcoming film The Danish Girl.

The 33-year-old British actor plays a transgender woman, Danish painter Lili Elbe, who in 1931 made history when she underwent what is believed to the first male-to-female gender reassignment surgery.

The first photo of Redmayne in character, wearing a short, curly red wig and bright red lipstick, was released on Friday.

Elbe was born Einar Wegner and was for years married to fellow artist Gerda Wegener, who Swedish actressAlicia Vikander plays in the film.

Elbe's first gender reassignment operation took place in Germany. She underwent several procedures, the last of which was a uterine transplant. She wanted to become a mother. Sadly, Elbe died in September 1931 in a women's hospital in Dresden. She was believed to have been in her late 40s.

Lili Elbe

Creative Commons

The Danish Girl focuses on Elbe's transition and how it affected the couple's relationship. She had once day stood in for a woman Gerda was supposed to paint for a portrait and later continued wearing women's clothing, including in public, with her wife. Gerda was the one who came up with the name Lili.

Redmayne, who reunited with his Les Misérables director Tom Hooper for The Danish Girl, told E! News last November, just before the 2015 awards season, that he planned to meet with "many women from the trans community,"including those who transitioned in the '50s and '60s, to listen to their stories as part of his preparation for his role in The Danish Girl.

"I have put on dresses and wigs and makeup," Redmayne added. "I'm beginning to embark on that and trying to find out who she is."

The Danish Girl film is based on David Ebershoff's 2001 novel of the same name and is set for release in 2016. The movie has been in the works for years. Nicole Kidman was originally tapped for the main role, whileCharlize Theron was initially supposed to play Gerda, The Hollywood Reporter had said in 2008.Gwyneth Paltrow was also at one point reportedly considered for the latter role.

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