Listen up, y'all. The former Sexiest Man Alive, Bradley Cooper, is making his return to Broadway after eight years to play the part of John Merrick, aka the Elephant Man, in the second revival of playwright Bernard Pomerance's The Elephant Man, EW reports. The currently Oscar-nominated actor for American Hustle has never shied away from interesting and meaty roles — but this one may prove to be his best yet.
In case you're not familiar with the true story, Joseph Merrick (called John in the play and movie) was an English man with severe deformities who died at the age of 27 in 1890. Merrick started developing large lumps the color of an elephant's skin on his body when he was 5-years-old. They grew to be huge disfigurements on his body and face from that point on, so much so that society was horrified by him and he was shunned by nearly everyone he came in contact with.
However, Cooper will get to put his finest acting chops on display, since he'll perform the role without any face-altering makeup or prosthetics for the deformities, and will have to convince the audience that he's not one of the most handsome men in Hollywood.
Billy Crudup was the last man to play the part, and was nominated for a Tony award in 2002. Other leading men to play the part on stage have been David Bowie and Mark Hamill. However, in the 1980 film version, directed by David Lynch, John Hurt wore crazy prosthetics that took over seven hours to apply each day.
Also, to put it in a pop culture context, remember the episode of Sex and the City where Samantha and Carrie went on a train trip together? Sam wanted to find a guy to have a train fling with but no guy was hot enough for her and when there were new dudes on the train, she breathlessly announced to Carrie, "A group of guys not resembling the Elephant Man just got on." So yeah, there's that, too. (Fun fact: Cooper did make a cameo on SATC once, but played a normal guy. But I digress.)
Bradley was last on Broadway in 2006 in Three Days of Rain, along with Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd.