Kornél Mundruczó, who helmed the critical darlings WHITE GOD and JUPITER’S MOON, has been tapped to direct a new film based on Englishman Joseph Merrick, AKA the Elephant Man. Although born outwardly normal, Merrick began to develop severe body and facial deformities as he grew older. Rejected by his family, Merrick eventually joined a freakshow as the Elephant Man, before being discovered by surgeon Frederick Treves. Treves befriended Merrick and introduced him to Victorian society where he soon became the toast of London.
This will not be the first time Merrick’s story has been told. His life was the subject of a prominent stage play in the 1970s. However, most film fans will recognize the story from David Lynch‘s 1980 THE ELEPHANT MAN which starred John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins and was nominated for eight Academy Awards. Most recently, Bradley Cooper starred as Merrick in a play revival that earned him a Tony Award nomination.
Whereas the 1980 film took a wider look at Joseph Merrick, Mundruczó’s film will have a narrower focus. The movie will “follow an unlikely love story between Joseph and the young woman assigned to his care at the Fawsley Hall Estate, where he’s been invited to experience nature and leisure in the final weeks of his life.” The film is set to be co-produced by Straight Up Pictures (TRANSCENDENCE, JANE GOT A GUN) and Phoenix Pictures (SHUTTER ISLAND, BLACK SWAN).
The upcoming Elephant Man movie is a true passion project for director Kornél Mundruczó who’s admired the story for years:
“I’ve been attracted to the character of Joseph Merrick’s for a long time,” Mundruczo said, “Our film will pay tribute to this astonishing man whose short life was filled with extraordinary experiences and challenges, that audiences all over the world will relate to deeply. In nature, all creatures thrive and in this environment, the Elephant Man can finally become Joseph Merrick, his true self.”
No word yet on who will play the title role but I think the producers would be nuts not to entertain offering the part to Bradley Cooper. He’s already familiar with the character and there’s no question the dude has the acting chops. Furthermore, this would be an opportunity for Cooper to stretch his acting talents. It would be interesting to see how the handsome moviestar does in a film where most of his face will be hidden by prosthetic makeup.
What do you guys think of this news? Are you interested in the prospect of an new ELEPHANT MAN movie? Who would you cast in the role? Sound off in the comments below!