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Categories: Interviews

This month I talked with actor, producer, and singer Emrhys Cooper, who has starred in a variety of productions for the stage and screen.


Born in England, Emrhys divides his work between both Los Angeles and London and his credits include the play “We Will Rock You”, the film “Mamma Mia!”, the show “Desperate Housewives” and the upcoming Bhutanese movie “Kushuthara – The Pattern of Love”. I asked him about his journey and his experiences in the industry.

When did you get your start in acting, and what drew you to the profession?

I got my start at a young age, as both my parents were very keen on the arts. My father regularly performed with a local amateur Shakespeare company and my mother was trained in dance, so I was dragged to the theatre all the time. Let’s just say sometimes it was a little challenging; watching the Tempest 7 nights in a row when you’re 9 isn’t top of your priority list. Also seeing my father dressed as a woman, whilst sitting with my mates, was rather interesting. However, now I embrace it and feel very lucky to have come from such an eccentric family. I think I was around 5 years old, and then I started up singing and acting pretty soon afterwards.

You have acted on the stage, in films, and on TV. How have your experiences in these three mediums differed and what draws you to each one?

I started on stage, so that was my first love, but growing up I was always transfixed by movies and I loved watching the classics. I find routine very challenging, so it really suits me to be doing new things everyday. I love all three fields of performing for different reasons.

When you’re on stage the performance is in your hands, not the editor’s or director’s, and you can really collaborate with the cast to make something electric.

Working in Television is also great, as it is fast-paced and you get to go on a journey with the same character (hopefully) for a long time. I love working on a movie, especially if it’s on location, as you bond with all the people on the production.

You work in both Los Angeles and London. How does working in each place differ?

Well, the main difference is obviously the weather. Each job I’ve done has been different so it’s hard for me to compare. I have worked more in Theatre in the UK, and over in LA its mainly Film and TV. 

You appear in the upcoming Bhutanese film, “Kushuthara – Pattern of Love”. How did you get the opportunity to be the first Western actor to star in a Bhutanese film?

A dear friend of mine, Peter Alan Roberts, happened to be the Tibetan translator for the King of Bhutan. Whilst Peter was over there, he met the Bhutanese Director Karma Deki. Karma had shot the first Kushuthara film and wanted to make another, so Peter helped write a script. It just so happened I was right for the role, so I Skyped with Karma and the rest is history.

What is the premise of the film?

I play the role of Charlie; he has been sent on an assignment to document traditional textile production in a very remote weaving village in Bhutan. It’s a captivating setting, cinematically speaking. The storyline follows the idea that one single thread weaves together the story of the past and present lives of two people. These two people, born on opposite sides of the world, are destined to meet, and realize karmic conditions and their consequences. On the surface, it is a typical boy-meets-girl theme – but only on the surface.

What did you learn from your experience filming in Bhutan? How do Bhutanese films differ from Western ones?

I learnt so much. I didn’t have a phone or internet for over a month, so that was an extremely rejuvenating experience. We are becoming so disconnected with all our phones and gadgets, myself included, and having a break from them helped me live in the present and feel more centered.

The Bhutanese people are thought to be some of the happiest on earth, and now I know why. They’ve protected their magical little kingdom from greed and many of the other beliefs that we impose on ourselves to make us think that we’re happy.

They are content with the life they’ve got, and they aren’t always seeking that never-ending thirst for materialistic things.  They appreciate their family, the earth and I would say being in Bhutan rearranged the furniture in my mind.

Where and when will people be able to see the film?

I believe it will be out early next year. The film is currently doing the film festival circuit, but once that is finished it will be available worldwide.

Watch the trailer for “Kushuthara – Pattern of Love” here.

You also star in the upcoming American thriller “Altered Perception”. Who is your character in the film, and what was it like to star in a thriller?

I play the role of Steven. Steven was a great challenge for me to play, as he is very complicated and multifaceted character. He has many secrets, and you’re never sure if he is really telling the truth. The film centers around a new mind-altering drug that has been created to get rid of false perceptions. I play part of one of the couples who goes through with the experiment, to help save my marriage, as I believe my wife’s paranoia is destroying it. But let’s just say the experiment may not turn out the way I had hoped. I’ve always loved a good thriller, so it was exciting to play something with so many twists and turns.

Last year you released your first single, “Hypnotized”. How has the song affected your career, and do you see yourself recording more music in the future?

I didn’t think too much would come from it to be honest. I grew up watching Michael Jackson on MTV and I’ve always loved music videos. Not many people know but I’ve been singing and dancing my whole life too. Doing the music is just another extension of me as a performer. The feed back on the music video and track were really positive. I’ve been into some auditions and they bring it up.

I am actually about to release the follow up on the 18th of December 2014; the track is called Reboot My Heart. I directed the music video for Reboot whilst in Thailand in the summer. Being creative is what drives me, in whatever medium.

Our theme for this issue is Journeys. What’s the next step in your acting journey? Any long-term goals for the future?

I would love to do a long-running series, that’s my goal for next year. I mean, what actor wouldn’t want to be in regular work? TV is so fantastic right now, and I like the idea of going on a long journey with a character. 

My long-term goals are just to be happy and keep trying to inspiring others,  whilst learning new lessons.

Any advice for our readers?

If you want something, don’t be afraid to go after it. The only one stopping you for getting your dream is you. Be bold, be brave and be the true authentic you. Stop worrying about what other people will think, as it’s your life!

Interview by Cameron Johnson, interim editor of The Spread.

Posted on Dec 1, 2014

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