Lessons learnt from one of the best summers of my life

I normally get the blues when summer is over or when I finish an acting job. Today, I spent my morning looking back at the past couple of months and all the adventures I have had and the lessons I have learnt.

This has been one of the best summers of my life!

I completed two films; travelled widely; and made some great new friends in the process. 

Both of the roles I played were extremely challenging, but also very rewarding.

I believe they came into my life for me to learn from and hopefully who ever watches these films can also be inspired.

Nosferatu

In July, I completed filming on Nosferatu which is the classic vampire tale. Nosferatu is a remake of the original 1922 first ever vampire movie. 

I play the lead role, Thomas Hutter, in Nosferatu, alongside a fantastic cast including Doug Jones, Joely Fisher, Sarah Carter, Jack Turner, George Maguire & Thomas Ian Nicholas.

Thomas Hutter

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Handsome and ambitious, Thomas’ over-the-top bravado and contrived charm are only a ploy to hide his true naïveté and egotistical nature. Thomas is so blind to the reality around him that he cannot see what could bring him true happiness.  

Thomas fears failure every ticking second.   He is the ultimate poseur. He believes fame and fortune are the keys to happiness. 

I have a lot in common with Thomas. I too have felt like ‘I am not enough’, but have acted as if I was confident and successful. I understood his fears. I have also been guilty of thinking that fame and fortune would bring me everything I desired.

 

Thomas has a real roller coaster ride in Nosferatu and is a changed man by the end of the film. He learns what is really important in life… and that is love. I too went on that journey, and in the process of bringing of lot of myself to this role, I’ve also learnt the same lesson as Thomas.

This has probably been one of my most challenging roles to date, as I had to go into some really dark places mentally, and filming on a lot on Green Screen was very technical. But working with such an incredible cast/crew, and under the fantastic direction of David Lee Fisher, I strongly believe this is going to be a very special and unique film and one I will be very proud to be a part of.

The film is now in post-production and will be released next year.

The Price for Silence

We filmed the movie all of August, in Morristown - New Jersey and Farmington - Connecticut and wrapped filming last week on the 28th of August.

The storyline: After the death of her father, a disturbed girl returns home to confront her family who were paid off to cover up her rape.

Lucas Flynn

I play one of the leads in the film alongside a very talented cast including Lynn Mancinelli, Kristin Carey, Jon McCormick, Richard Thomas, Dorothy Lyman and Armin Amiri.

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Lucas is the younger brother of the lead actress who had a rape covered up by our father. A drug addict. An artist, but struggles with his painting. Sharp wit, but fragile and fatalistic.

Once I landed the role I quickly started immersing myself in the character, as I didn’t have long to prep. 

Not really knowing much about heroin addiction I quickly started researching: watching films/documentaries that dealt with addiction, reading, and, probably the most helpful of all, chatting to a former heroin addict. He was kind enough to allow himself to be very vulnerable with me and told me his very moving story. 

The information he shared was very beneficial in helping me understand the physical and emotional effects of addiction to heroin.

As Lucas is an artist, I decided to paint a painting on canvas of what I thought he might feel. I wanted to let the character guide me. And what came out on to the canvas was a prison cell. This helped inform me exactly how Lucas felt.

In playing Lucas I also learnt lessons: it’s made me see just how damaging repressing our pain and secrets can be. As an artist myself, I’ve struggled with many of Lucas’ insecurities and self-doubt. I’ve learnt that acceptance is key to living a more balanced healthy lifestyle. We all have a dark side, it’s there whether we want to admit it or not. 

But by repressing any kind of negative emotion, whether it’s through drugs, alcohol, sex, social media, shopping etc, will only allow that poison to grow.

Playing Lucas has made me more empathic and understanding of anyone suffering from addiction.

My hope for my performance and the entire film is to highlight just how dangerous repressing secrets, denial and having a lack of confidence in one’s self can be.

The Price for Silence will be released in 2018

Aside from my works experience, I was fortunate enough to travel to some pretty incredible places. From NY to LA to film, then I managed to disconnect completely on the 4th of July weekend camping with no wifi on Santa Cruz Island (Channel Islands). I also went to the Hamptons for the first time. And on completing “The Price for Silence” I went on an extraordinary adventure around Cuba, narrowly missing the storm. 

Seeing all these other cultures and environments has helped give me a broader perspective and reminded me of just how lucky I am. 

Whether it is camping with no electricity or a plush suite in a 5 star hotel, I find just having an adventure refuels my batteries.

 

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Emrhys Cooper