The BBC has announced who’ll play Joseph Merrick in The Elephant Man.
From the makers of The Missing and the producer of Poldark, BBC One’s new two-part drama will star Yorkshire-born Stranger Things actor Charlie Heaton.
Merrick was born in England in 1862 and appeared in a freak show as the “Elephant Man” due to his severe face and body deformities. He was later well known in London society after becoming friends with a prominent surgeon.
Deadline reports that The Elephant Man “will chart Merrick’s extraordinary story from his working-class beginnings in Leicestershire, through the work-houses, music halls and freak shows that punctuated 19th Century culture to his time at the London Hospital and his friendship with Dr Frederick Treves.”
Merrick has been portrayed many times on screen before, most famously by Sir John Hurt in David Lynch’s 1980 movie, which was nominated for eight Oscars.
Charlie Heaton commented: “I’m extremely excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to take on the portrayal of Joseph Merrick in the BBC’s adaption of The Elephant Man.
“This is such a special role and a challenge for any actor. Joseph has such an incredible story and I can’t wait to go on this journey and bring him to life.”
Executive producer Elaine Pyke added: “Joseph’s determination to be his own man, to earn a living, to find a sense of freedom and to express himself is inspiring to all.
“Neil McKay’s beautiful script captures this extraordinary story and we are thrilled that Charlie Heaton is going to play Joseph.”
The Elephant Man begins filming in Wales soon and will air on BBC One in the UK in 2019.