<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Devon Life today click here

Emrhys Cooper: landing his big role

PUBLISHED: 14:37 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:37 22 May 2017

He’s the Devon boy who has hit the Hollywood big time, but as Emrhys Cooper tells Alexis Bowater, it hasn’t been an easy ride to the top

Homeless and sleeping in a clapped-out car in the Hollywood hills is nobody’s idea of fun or glamour but for this astonishing young actor that was reality just a few years ago and it is a measure of his dogged determination that he came through that to stardom.

Emrhys Cooper’s story reads like a real-life La La Land script: triumphing over dyslexia and school bullying in rural Devon to make it - firstly to London on a dance scholarship and then, via Mamma Mia and the West End stage, to the bright lights of Los Angeles.

Once there the streets were neither paved with gold nor red-carpeted. Even with a manager and a visa, aged just 24 he was in at the deep end:

“I thought it was going to be an easy ride,” he recalls. “Little did I know. I’m a hopeless optimist and I just thought I’d go to LA and figure it out, but I went to LA and the first year was a real struggle, I was renting a car from ‘Rent-A-Wreck’, so every other week they break down.

“I lived in about ten or 12 different places in the first year; I lived with an alcoholic one time; I came home and my clothes were down the street, he’d thrown them out the window. Then I lived with a girl who was addicted to drugs and she was actually a hooker and at night people would come back. I was so naïve and innocent to it all.

“I had lots of weird experiences in my first year-and-a-half and it was like a roller coaster. One time I lived in my car for three nights; I was kicked out of this lady’s house and I’d run out of money. I was so ashamed at that point that I wasn’t getting it together so I kept it secret.”

You can see as Emrhys talks that he’s done what all good actors do and spun these awful experiences on their head, taken ownership of them and banked them for future use. It’s a delight and privilege to watch as he morphs for our photographer from friendly boy-next-door to James Dean bad boy then - whisper it - a young James Bond.

The turning point was, he says, learning to be himself and not to ‘play the game’ of

Hollywood: the parading at parties, the networking, the obsequious pretending-to-be-someone-you-are-not. “After witnessing it and things not working how I’d hoped I realised ultimately that what is important is authenticity: being your true self and working really hard at the craft of acting.

“Gradually I stripped back all the things that were holding me back. Ultimately it’s about my voice, how can it transcend and inspire, because it’s not just about being a good actor, it’s about telling stories. So the more you can understand yourself, the pain that you’ve gone through the better. Because ultimately it’s about personalising it so other people can relate to whatever story you’re telling.

“In the last couple of years I’ve just really worked on being happy in myself, my mind and surrounding myself with good people, because when I first got to L.A. I was around bad people and bad influences.”

And it was at this point, with Emrhys’ life in America beginning to turn around that serendipity or the hand of fate landed an extraordinary leading role in his lap in one of the most random and extraordinary acts of La La Land luck you can imagine.

“I was hanging out with my friends at our house and his friend was the Tibetan translator for the King of Bhutan,” explains Emrhys.

“He said ‘The King of Bhutan wants to do a movie to showcase Bhutan because the number one in the economy is tourism’. I thought ‘great’. I didn’t think anything of it and then he got me on Skype with Karma Deki who is the director of Kushuthara and asked if I wanted to do this movie in Bhutan.”

Within three weeks they began filming 10,000 feet up in the stunning landscape of one of the most remote and inaccessible countries in the world. The movie is a love story about a western journalist who travels to Bhutan and becomes entangled with a married Bhutanese woman.

In Hollywood, indeed all over the world, Emrhys is clearly a leading man on a still upward trajectory: handsome, recognisable, stopped for autographs, with a massive future ahead of him and red carpet premieres and awards aplenty to come.

Here in his Totnes home town though, in the ballroom of the Seven Stars, it’s a rainy Devon day and he’s relaxed and himself: jumping with joy and dancing with freedom as he was born to.

There’s laughter, and beer, and Scottish reels, his mum confiding in me that he’s ‘an Aquarius with Leo rising’, has always been a performer and that we must rush because they have to get the bus to Plymouth.

Emrhys Cooper is now an international film star. He may well be, and deserves to be, the next James Bond. But whatever happens, the grounding of him is and always will be here: a hard-working Valentine’s Day-born boy from Devon who never, ever, gave up, who chased his dreams - and caught them.”

For more information visit kushuthara.com

Ten things Emrhys loves about Devon:

1. I love the Devon coastline with the fabulous beaches and cliff walks. One of my favourites is Berry Head.

2. Climbing Haytor on Dartmoor.

3. The atmospheric ruins of Berry Pomeroy Castle.

4. The River Dart, particularly at Staverton, where I spent many happy summer days.

5. Spitchwick Common, barbecues, swimming and jumping off high rocks.

6. I was very lucky to be in Miss Pam’s wonderful Dance School in Paignton from the age of six.

7. Dartington Hall, Dartington Gardens and watching films at the Barn Theatre.

8. I have very happy memories of surfing at Bantham Beach.

9. I love the Devon villages with their thatched cottages and charming gardens, especially Widecombe.

10. I attended The Rudolf Steiner in Dartington with its beautiful grounds and innovative creative education.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Devon Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Devon Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Devon Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Friday, March 9, 2018

Devon has produced some of the world’s best talent when it comes to film, music, sport, TV or pretty much any other field you can think of. Here are 18 celebrities that have shaped popular culture in their own unique way

Read more
Thursday, March 8, 2018

From nurses to TV stars, chefs to campaigners and runners to cider makers, Devon’s women are some of the most inspirational people you’ll meet in day-to-day life. We celebrate 12 who’ve made a mark on our county’s cultural and social landscape

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A unique steamship is being restored at Bideford for a new educational role, writes Owen Jones

Read more
Friday, March 2, 2018

Rural communities throughout the UK could be eligible to receive funding via the Calor Rural Community Fund from energy provider Calor

Read more
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Photographer Lee Pengelly urges everyone to get out onto our moors at night and looks upwards with their camera

Read more
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Branscombe residents have seen it all over the years: smugglers, ghosts and one of the most extraordinary shipwrecks the world has ever seen. Chrissy Harris meets a woman helping to preserve the history of this fascinating village…

Read more
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The South West Coast Path has led to romance for many couples. Now Becky Millington wonders, will she be next?

Read more
Thursday, February 8, 2018

We reveal the finalists of this year’s Devon Life Landscape Artist of the Year. All finalists will now display their work at Mayne Gallery in March with the winner revealed on opening night

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A new fashion exhibition at a landmark Devon National Trust property will give a timely insight into the links between fashion and suffrage

Read more
Monday, February 5, 2018

A century after the Representation of the People Act was passed, author Tracey Glasspool reveals how the campaign for women’s suffrage had been bitterly contested in Devon

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

They get to pose the difficult questions and put interviewees on the spot every day in ITV’s regional news programme, Westcountry News, but especially for Devon Life Kate Haskell turns the tables and gets the lowdown on presenters Ian Axton and Kylie Pentelow

Read more
Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Recently we covered 13 celebrities you never knew were from Devon, because Devon is home to so many famous faces here are eight more that we missed…

Read more
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Founder member of Police Dog Hogan, James Studholme, tells Judy Spiers the story of how the country band got their most distinctive moniker

Read more
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

David J Williams looks back at an era when thousands flocked to watch football players at Plymouth’s Home Park…but it wasn’t the men they were cheering on

Read more
A+ South & South West
Great British Holidays advert link
Pure Weddings advert link
South West Life advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search