Eddie Redmayne says he feels privileged to play transgender pioneer Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.

The film premiered last month to rave reviews at the Venice International Film Festival.

In the movie, British actor Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) plays Elnar Wegener, who is asked by his wife, illustrator and artist Gerda Wegener (played by Alicia Vikander), to stand in for a female model. The paintings became wildly popular in 1920's Copenhagen. Gerda's dressing of her husband as Lili ultimately led him to his historic 1931 operation. The transformation shocked the world and threatened the couple's marriage.

The movie has been criticized for not casting a transgender actor in the lead role.

Tom Hooper, who directed the film, told the AP that he found the script “incredibly moving.”

Redmayne called his role “a bit intimidating.”

“Getting to play someone like Lili Elbe, who is an icon in the trans community, was a great privilege,” Redmayne said. “I mean, don't take that lightly, if you're lucky enough to be cast as her.”

“I spent a year meeting members of the trans community, different generations of trans women. Their transparency and kindness in order to educate me and to educate cisgender people was wonderful,” he added.

The Danish Girl arrives in theaters November 27.