Making The Elephant Man: A Producer’s Memoir
The true story of John (Joseph) Merrick—a.k.a. the Elephant Man—has captured the imagination of generations of audiences, critics, actors and filmmakers. In 1978, producer Jonathan Sanger received a screenplay from two unknown writers about a hideously disfigured man who refused to fall victim to despair and instead exemplified human dignity. Reading it (twice), Sanger was determined that Merrick’s story would be told.
This book is Sanger’s unvarnished first-person account of how the The Elephant Man (1980) was made. His adventure in filmmaking—itself a study in triumph over despair—involved special effects nightmares, scheduling conflicts, location issues and many risky decisions. Assembling a team that included Mel Brooks (executive producer), David Lynch (director) and actors John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, Sanger persevered in making this inspiring, award-winning film.