"I'm bringing him home," the American Sniper star says of the play's famous character, Joseph Merrick

By Tim Nudd
Updated January 23, 2015 09:25 AM
Credit: Gregory Pace/BEI

Joseph Merrick is going home.

Bradley Cooper will take his acclaimed portrayal of Merrick, better known as the Elephant Man – an Englishman with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity in Victorian times – to London this summer, as the Broadway production transfers to the West End.

“Never did we think we would have the privilege to perform this show on Broadway, let alone in London,” Cooper, 40, said in a statement. “I’m honored that Alessandro [Nivola], Patricia [Clarkson], the entire company and I have the opportunity to continue to tell his story.”

The American Sniper star will perform in the Bernard Pomerance play The Elephant Man at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from May 19 until Aug. 8.

Cooper has won raves for his performance as Merrick, who died in 1890 at age 27. Rather than use prosthetics, he hints at Merrick’s deformities by contorting his limbs. He also says that he feels drawn to the part.

“There’s something about the physical manifestation of the movie star, who by nature has to be looked at, playing this part. I get that,” Cooper says.