Bradley Cooper Talks David Lynch and Playing The Elephant Man In the December Issue of Vogue

bradley cooper vogue elephant man

Cooper with this Elephant Man co-stars Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson | Photo from the December issue of Vogue

Bradley Cooper gets a nice writeup in the December issue of Vogue, in which he talks about playing the severely deformed John Merrick in the Broadway production of The Elephant Man.

In it he gabs about playing real-life heroes, like Merrick and Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in the upcoming American Sniper, saying, “It’s the most fulfilling feeling as an actor … You’re taking responsibility toward this other guy’s life. It frees up so much energy to pursue it, because it’s not about you.”

He also talks about his connection to Merrick, which he says began when he was a young man living in Philadelphia:

After seeing a VHS of David Lynch’s version of the story at age twelve, he decided to become an actor. “I was entranced by the filmmaking and the performances and just crushed by the plight of this guy,” he recalls. Years later, as a graduate student at the Actors Studio, he discovered Pomerance’s play and, after obsessive research—including making his own chart of Merrick’s physical maladies and traveling to London to walk the halls of the hospital where he spent his final years—put on an excerpt as his master’s thesis. And while Cooper concedes that his performance “might have had some room for improvement,” he remembers it as “cathartic” because his father—a working-class Irish kid from North Philadelphia who had made good and put his son through Georgetown—was in the audience. “I remember him hugging me afterward and sort of shaking in my arms,” Cooper says. “And he just said, ‘You picked the right profession.’ That meant the world to me.”

Read more of the interview here.