“I am not the Sexiest Man Alive! I am an actor! I am the Elephant Man!”

Bradley Cooper isn’t old enough, or hasn’t aged enough, to have the sort of moment Jude Law is apparently having, where he can talk about being less pretty so he can be taken more seriously. The original Jude Law article has some terrific pictures, and yes, the man has aged in some interesting ways.  But Gawker has a snarky-fun take on it, saying that Law, in that article, has participated in “the ancient ritual of the Aging Male Beauty interview, declaring his utter relief to have finally slid into human levels of attractiveness….The Aging Male Beauty interview is a beloved rite of passage, typically performed in the colder Oscar months….” The only reason I don’t mind the snark much in this case is that, really, Jude Law is still a fine looking man.

But even with the scars on his face, Mr. Cooper is still awfully pretty. What to do, what to do.

Well, what he did a long time ago was fall in love with David Lynch’s Elephant Man. [He wasn’t quite as young as my friends Beckie and Roy’s son Wickham, who went as the Elephant Man for Halloween when he was 4, and instead of saying “Trick-or-treat” said, “I am not an animal.”]

What Mr. Cooper did when he was in the MFA program at the Actor’s Studio was convince people his thesis should be him in the lead of Bernard Pomerance’s Elephant Man.  On Fresh Air yesterday, he told Terry Gross that several people at the school tried to talk him out of it.

What he’s done recently is perform it in Massachusetts, to good local reviews (they allowed only local media). Here’s an article with pictures.

And what he’ll be doing soon is bringing it to Broadway.

How strikingly different that is from the way most of us navigate the world of inner beauty/outer beauty. How strange to be so beautiful and be so attracted to a play about a man whose inner beauty was masked by outer deformity.

And really, what a nice counterpoint to being People‘s Sexiest Man Alive, even more effective than what Mr. Cooper has done in more than one interview, which is to point out that when he was selected as the Sexiest Man Alive, the choice was actually protested.

Having your selection as the Sexiest Man Alive protested is funny, and probably humbling (though really, that’s kind of humble-bragging, isn’t it?).

But being the sort of actor who has a long relationship with a movie and a play about Joseph Merrick–that takes the 2D People cover and gives it real depth and texture.

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