Bradley Cooper will be returning to his roots as he takes the Broadway stage in the new production of The Elephant Man. Cooper, a graduate from James Lipton’s Actor’s Studio, has a long history with the play specifically with the role of John Merrick. For his thesis Cooper performed the play in New York’s Circle in the Square.
For Cooper this will be the actor’s third time taking the role of John Merrick in the Scott Ellis-directed production. Cooper’s first time portraying Joseph “John” Merrick in The Elephant Man was for graduate school, and the second time he took the stage was at the 2012 Williamstown Theater Festival, with Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola. His obsession with the character John Merrick from The Elephant Man started when he was dissecting John Hurt’s performance in the film by David Lynch.
Of his love for The Elephant Man Cooper told Lipton:
“I remember seeing the movie when I was 12 and not really knowing what David Lynch was doing, with his skill, the music, and the lighting, and how the movie was shot. When Hopkins comes in to see Merrick, and we don’t see him yet, but we see Hopkins watching him and hearing his breathing. Movies used to always effect me emotionally. The Elephant Man affected me with the music, and I became really addicted to the feeling that movies would give to me. The feeling of another world and the sadness of the character, I couldn’t stop crying when I would watch The Elephant Man. I knew there was a connection I had with this character.”
The Elephant Man is the story about Joseph Merrick, a disfigured man who has to overcome his crutch to emerge as a figure of high society in Victorian England. For Cooper this will be a role played without facial prosthetics.
The rival of The Elephant Man is written by Bernard Pomerance. The last time the play made it to the Broadway stage was in 2002. At the time Billy Crudup played the role of the disfigured John Merrick and was opposite Kate Burton. In the rival both Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola will join Cooper.
This isn’t the first time Bradley is heading to the stage in a professional setting. Once graduating from the Actor’s Studio Cooper mainly focused on television and film, but made his way back to the theater in 2006 in the play Three Days of Rain opposite Paul Rudd and Julia Roberts.
Since his Broadway debut Bradley Cooper has been nominated for two Academy Awards. His first came for his performance in Silver Linings Playbook, and his second he received a nomination for American Hustle.