In honor of the London opening of The Elephant Man at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on May 19th, I’m reposting my New York Observer profile of the Tony-Award nominated actress Patricia Clarkson that first appeared on December 16, 2014:
Patricia Clarkson weeps daily, wrenchingly, on the stage of New York’s Booth Theater, twice on Wednesdays, a few wisps of her emblematic strawberry blonde hair coming free as she hangs her head. She also, at every performance of The Elephant Man, bares her breasts. It is quite the reveal—they, seen discreetly from the side, are perky and pleasantly pear-shaped. The first task strains her throat, the second her grace and composure as a Southern girl. But the third leap of faith she takes in The Elephant Man, which opened earlier this week on Broadway, she said, is the hardest of all.
“Every single night I go out, I look Bradley Cooper in the eye, he’s the man I fall in love with literally in front of your eyes right there on stage, I play this grand actress, this lofty actress, and then you know that as I come to that handshake I literally look at him and [she snapped her fingers] I’m done. That’s all that I have to do, I just have to look at him and I’m gone. I just have to look at him every single night and truly look at him. His eyes are so open, metaphorically and physically, he’s just open. And I fall, but I have to be able to fall so I have to get myself to the edge of the diving board and that’s the harder part. And then I fall, I take the glove off and I fall. It’s so simple yet it’s one of the hardest things I’ve done in my whole career.”