Bradley Cooper will be depart from his usual handsome leading man roles when he stars on Broadway as the title character in a revival of The Elephant Man.
Cooper, who is currently nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for American Hustle, played the title role at the Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts last summer. He last appeared on Broadway in 2006 opposite Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd in a revival of Three Days of Rain. No theater or specific dates have been announced for The Elephant Man, but the production is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
Based on a real-life story, Bernard Pomerance’s play tells of the story of John Merrick, who is rescued from a carnival sideshow by a kindly doctor and introduced into the upper crust of Victorian English society. He forms a friendship with a celebrated actress who sees the tender soul underneath the distorted exterior. The lead role is an immense challenge since it calls for the actor to suggest Merrick’s twisted, disfigured body using only physicality and with no elaborate make-up or prosthetics.
After a small production in London, the play opened Off-Broadway in 1979 and later moved to Broadway where it won the Tony Award for Best Play. Rock star David Bowie and Star Wars’ Mark Hamill were among the actors who took on the difficult lead part through the run. Billy Crudup, Kate Burton and Rupert Graves headlined a 2002 Broadway revival.