Bradley Cooper Bulks Up, Strips Down for 'The Elephant Man' (PHOTOS)

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Bradley Cooper -- who was voted People's Sexiest Man Alive -- is ready to take the stage to play The Elephant Man in a new stage production. In new theater promo shoots, the 37-year-old actor strips down to play Joseph Merrick, who is plagued by shocking deformities.

The Hangover star displayed his toned torso at the Williamstown Theatre in Massachusetts over the weekend in his role as the tragic 19th century character.

What made Cooper decide to take on the lead role?

The Elephant Man holds a special place in Cooper's heart, as it was one of his late father's favorite films.

"My father was a huge cinephile. I remember watching Raging Bull with him on cable when I was 10, and when I was 12, him showing me The Elephant Man and Apocalypse Now -- all these crazy movies," he told Marie Claire in April 2011.

His lead role portrays a man who suffers from extreme deformities during the Victorian era in London, and goes from being the local freak show to becoming the star of the town with the help of Mrs. Kendall (Easy A's Patricia Clarkson), an actress hired to befriend Merrick.

The show will run at Williamstown Theatre until Aug. 5.

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