“What I want audiences to take away from The Danish Girl is the fact that this, above all else, was a great love story.”
The remarkably soft-spoken Tom Hooper, British director of numerous award-winning movies including Les Miserables and The King’s Speech, is addressing a roomful of reporters and photographers on the opening night of the Mill Valley Film Festival, where last October, his acclaimed film The Danish Girl screened to dazzled crowds.
Shortly before the screening, one of the first questions that Hooper receives is, to paraphrase it for brevity’s sake, why—of all possible subjects—did he choose to make a movie about Lili Elbe (born Einar Wegener), who, in 1930, was among the very first people to undergo transgender surgery?
“One of the reasons I wanted to do this,” Hooper says, so softly that reporters lean forward to hear him better, “was because the script captured the love story between these two people so well. It examines that very broad theme of what happens, in a marriage, when one of the partners changes. How do you manage that change? In a way, in this story, Lili’s change is partly made possible by the incredible, unconditional love that Gerda has for Lili. To me, it’s a celebration of how people can find their true selves when they are truly loved and truly seen for who they are.”
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