Charlie Heaton, breakout star of Netflix's hit series Stranger Things, has landed the starring role of Joseph Merrick in a new two-part BBC One miniseries version of The Elephant Man. Heaton has become a standout among the extremely talented cast of Stranger Things, receiving critical acclaim for his portrayal of Jonathan Byers, the quiet teenage loner who does everything he can for his mother and younger brother, and also becomes the boyfriend of Nancy Wheeler.

Heaton got his start on the crime series DCI Banks, quickly following that up with the detective series Vera. His first larger role was in 2016's psychological thriller Shut In, starring alongside big names such as Naomi Watts and Oliver Platt. While that film was heavily panned by critics and did little work at the box office, it paved the way for Heaton to land the role of Jonathan on Netflix's Stranger Things, which went on to become one of the biggest television series currently running, as well as a permanent staple of pop culture. Heaton recently finished work on Marvel's New Mutants, where he will portray the superhero Cannonball, as well as the upcoming third season of Stranger Things. Season 3 will introduce several new characters, and it's been speculated that Jonathan may be on the chopping block when the show returns.

Deadline reports that this newest adaptation of the story of Joseph Merrick will be a two-part miniseries simply titled The Elephant Man, and Heaton is set to star in the titular role. The miniseries will chronicle the entirety of Merrick's life; from his time in work houses to freak shows to the rest of his life at the London Hospital. Heaton stated "I'm extremely honored to be given the opportunity to take on the portrayal of Joseph Merrick. 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."

The amazing true story of Joseph Merrick has long been a subject of fascination and study. Born in the UK, Merrick became afflicted with physical deformities when he was young that developed all over his body, including his face. After the passing of his mother and a deteriorating relationship with his father, Merrick made his way into a human oddities show in London. He was exhibited in the show as "The Elephant Man". Eventually, Merrick ended up spending the rest of his life at the London Hospital, living comfortably and becoming the subject of many medical studies. His inspirational story has been adapted to stage and screen for decades.

Heaton will join the list of legendary actors who have also portrayed Merrick, such as David Bowie, Mark Hamill, David Schofield, and Bradley Cooper. The most famous adaptation was done by director David Lynch in 1980 and starred John Hurt; the film went on to be nominated for eight Academy Awards. This puts Heaton in great company, and if his portrayal of Merrick lives up to previous performances, it may end up being his greatest work yet.