Entertainment Movies Alicia Vikander 'Understands the Criticism' Eddie Redmayne Faced for Playing a Trans Woman "We need to make sure that trans men and women actually get a foot in and get work," Alicia Vikander told Insider By Jen Juneau Jen Juneau Twitter Jen Juneau is a digital news writer for PEOPLE since 2016. People Editorial Guidelines Published on August 2, 2021 06:31 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Alicia Vikander and Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl (2015). Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock Alicia Vikander is addressing the criticism Eddie Redmayne faced for playing a real-life transgender woman in their 2015 film The Danish Girl. In an interview with Insider, published Sunday, the 32-year-old actress called making the romantic drama "such a learning experience," while praising Redmayne, 39, for doing "a wonderful job" in his role as Lili Elbe, believed to be the first person to undergo a sex change in the 1930s. At the same time, she says: "I totally understand the criticism that has been out there, because we need to make change and we need to make sure that trans men and women actually get a foot in and get work." "My only concern is that we may need to get to a point in the end where we have trans women and men playing cis characters," said the star, who won an Academy Award for her role in the film. "Because that is the main thing." Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories. Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl (2015). Shutterstock How Eddie Redmayne Became The Danish Girl: The Surprising Things He Learned from the Transgender Community Redmayne has spoken out several times about his role in the movie, previously sharing that he met with trans women of all ages to prepare — and the more research he did, the more one sentiment stuck out to him. "What I found astounding, in relation to Lili's story, is that almost 100 years on — I know there is a conversation going on at the moment, and that is wonderful — but there is still so much progress that needs to happen," he told reporters at the movie's Toronto International Film Festival premiere. "It's amazing, this conversation, and that the world is becoming educated. But I think there's still a long way to go," Redmayne added, noting the discrimination against and high suicide rate among the trans community. He also admitted to being "incredibly ignorant beforehand," explaining, "It never occurred to me that gender is fluid. ... The idea of the masculine and the feminine: Like, what is masculine? Is sport masculine? [Are] arty things feminine?" "I think it's kind of antiquated, the notion of that now. There's a spectrum, and we all fit on it somewhere," Redmayne said. RELATED VIDEO: Eddie Redmayne on Conversation Surrounding Trans Community: "It's a Civil Rights Movement" More recently, Redmayne responded to J.K. Rowling's controversial remarks about the transgender community last year. The bestselling Harry Potter author, 56, came under fire in June 2020 when she appeared to support anti-transgender sentiments in a series of tweets. Shortly after she denied her views on feminism are transphobic, she doubled down on her controversial standpoints in a lengthy essay shared on her website days later. In June of that year, Redmayne issued a statement in support of the transgender community after Rowling published her essay. "As someone who has worked with both J.K. Rowling and members of the trans community, I wanted to make it absolutely clear where I stand. I disagree with Jo's comments. Trans women are women, trans men are men and nonbinary identities are valid," he said.