Bradley Cooper Embraces "Becoming This Freak" in Vogue (Exclusive)

That is, the actor talks to the glossy about starring in the Broadway production of 'The Elephant Man' as a man with severe deformities

Bradley Cooper was dubbed People's Sexist Man Alive in 2011; he takes a step back from that title with his return to Broadway in The Elephant Man as a severely deformed 19th century British man named John Merrick.

Featured in the December issue of Vogue magazine, which is covered by his American Hustle co-star, Amy Adams, Cooper revealed that Merrick's story had actually inspired him to pursue acting. "I was entranced by filmmaking and the performances and just crushed by the plight of this guy," he told writer Adam Green, recalling how he felt after watching David Lynch's version of The Elephant Man at age 12.

Now, the 39-year-old actor is starring alongside Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola in the play, which is currently in previews at the Booth Theatre, officially opening on Dec. 7. Box office last week broke the venue's house record.

While Cooper's character appears terribly unattractive on the outside, he notes that there's more than meets the eye. "You start out watching a normal man — me — becoming this freak, and then once you've given yourself over to the illusion, you slowly start to see him as a normal man beneath the skin," explained the actor.

Check out what else Cooper had to say about the role at

'THE ELEPHANT MAN' CAST: Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola, and Patricia Clarkson (Photo courtesy of VOGUE/Annie Leibovitz)