Imagine a movie starring two Oscar-winning actresses. Imagine that they play a couple. Imagine that one of the women portrays the world’s first post-op male-to-female transsexual. Finally, imagine that this is all based on a true story. Now, stop imagining, because it’s actually happening.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron have signed on to the independent film The Danish Girl, based on the novel about real-life early 20th century Danish artists Einar and Gerda Wegener. Einar (played by Nicole) often dressed as a woman to model for wife Gerda (played by Charlize), and in 1930, became the first person to successfully undergo gender reassignment surgery to become Lili Elbe.
Wow, where to start? In a country where several states just voted overwhelmingly to ban same-sex marriage, this is the first bit of good gay news we’ve heard in a while. And not just good but awesome. While both Gerda and Lili were artists, it was Gerda’s paintings of beautiful women (many of whom turned out to be her husband) that caused the greatest sensation.
A painting of Lili by Gerda and Lili herself
The couple married in 1904 when Gerda was 17 and Einar was 22. According to a Copenhagen Post article, they lived happily with what at first was Einar’s alter ego and later her full transition to Lili. Sadly, after Gerda’s operation, the Danish government annulled the couple’s marriage since two women could not be legally married in Denmark. How history loves to repeat itself.
Gerda had her own lesbian leanings. A successful painter and illustrator, she is perhaps most famous for her erotic lesbian imagery (most of which is too graphic to publish on these pages, but you can check out some of the NSFW imagery here.)
The novel by David Ebershoff is a fictionalized account of Lili’s life and relationship with Gerda. With Nicole and Charlize attached, the project has gone from obscure to high-profile overnight. The two Academy Award winners bring considerable clout as well as some experience playing gay, with Charlize in Monster and Head in the Clouds, and Nicole in subtext with The Hours.
As hard as it is to envision Nicole — if only briefly — as a man, I couldn’t be more thrilled at the pairing of these high-caliber actresses. It’s about time more transsexual stories made it to the big screen. And the prospect of seeing Nicole and Charlize together as women is the stuff of lesbian dreams are made of. Well, imagine no more and bring on the popcorn.
So, who wants to race me to the ticket counter?