Bradley Cooper To Play Joseph Merrick In Broadway Revival Of ‘The Elephant Man’

Bradley Cooper is slated to play the role of Joseph Merrick in a Broadway revival of The Elephant Man Unlike previous actors that have played the role, such as David Bowie and John Hurt, Cooper plans to do so without the use of prosthetics or special effect make-ups. Instead, the limber star plans on contorting his own body and disfigure his face via changing his expressions. Due to the strain that the role will place on his body, Bradley Cooper will need to ensure he takes extra care of himself and remains limber for the role.

The Elephant Man originally premiered in 1979 at the Booth Theatre, and features around two dozen photographs of the real Joseph Merrick. The show follows Merrick’s life from lowly circus freak to his acceptance into London’s high society.


Bradley Cooper realizes that the physical demands of the production will be straining on his body. However, he plans to stay limber via exercise and the use of an inversion table. He will also have a chiropractor at his beck and call, if needed. He is excited to join the production in such a prestigious role; he became a fan of The Elephant Man when he saw David Lynch’s 1980 film version. Since then, Cooper has studied the life of Joseph Merrick, but wasn’t introduced to the play until he was older.

“It wasn’t until grad school where we had to choose a thesis and I came across Bernard Pomerance’s play. I probably thought about him maybe every day since I was 12, so I took a shot at it and it seemed to feel like a fit.”

The Broadway play begins on November 7, and will run for 14 weeks in total. It will feature the entire cast that Cooper began the project with, including the interns. Performing the play in the Booth Theatre is just icing on the cake.

“We wanted to keep the cast, including the interns, who were interns in Williamstown, and it had to be at the Booth Theatre, which is where it originated. To me it’s the only place you could have this play exist and we got both, thank god,”

Cooper views the tale of Joseph Merrick not as one of despair leading to success, but as a love story instead.

“There’s this love story and you also get a sense of Merrick being a real survivor and having a real wisdom about him. It’s sort of heart-breaking in the face of reality and the limits that faced him.”

What are your thoughts about Bradley Cooper and the disfiguring role?

[Photo Courtesy: Time Inc.]