One of the most sensitive portrayal that I can think of in cinema is that of The Elephant Man played by John Hurt. John Hurt is no more, but he will be remembered fondly for his body of great work.
The Naked Civil Servant. ‘Half the stuff I have done which has been successful would never have been made if it had been shown to focus groups. ”Elephant Man” would never have been made. Imagine the pitch for ”Naked Civil Servant”. A self-confessed homosexual who crusades for gay rights. They’d say f— off. You have to be brave’.
The Elephant Man. ‘Mel Brooks [producer] had the vision, actually. When I read the script it made me cry. I was cast because David Lynch had seen me in ”I, Claudius” and ”Naked Civil Servant”. He encouraged me not to do the same thing, to try something different, so I worked on the sweet voice and demeanour. Nowadays directors want you to do what you’ve done before’.
Nigel Farndale — The Telegraph