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Interview – Emrhys Cooper – ‘Trophy Boy’ – A Short Film


Posted May 16, 2018 by

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Interview – Emrhys Cooper

Exclusive first look at ‘Trophy Boy’ the provocative short that has the Cannes Film Festival peering behind the facade of our obsession with social media

The gritty and relatable short ‘Trophy Boy’ explores the devastation that can come from leading a double life: one you portray online, and one you actually live.

‘Trophy Boy, the debut project of NYC’s EmCo Entertainment ( will screen as part of the Cannes Short Film Corner at the Palais on May 18th 2018.

This short marks the directorial debut of British actor / director and creator of ‘Trophy Boy’ Emrhys Cooper (‘Person of Interest’ / ’Mamma Mia’). He portrays the leading role of James, a self-proclaimed influencer who “has it all”: looks, charm, followers, likes – you know, the important things in life.

James’ glass house comes crashing down when older benefactor Mark portrayed by Gerald McCullouch (‘House’/ ‘Law & Order’/ ‘CSI’) calls their relationship quits and sends him packing with nothing but his chiseled jawline and muscled abs to keep him warm at night.

The film, written by Anthony Johnston (‘After Louie’ / ’Revenge of the Popinjay’), is a haunting exposé of the dark side, and the repercussions of, the millennials social media obsession. Further, it unveils the duality of who we really are versus who we portray ourselves to be on the internet. It is a riches-to-rags unraveling, showing the dangers of linking your self-worth to Facebook likes.

‘Trophy Boy’s commendatory first reactions have prompted discussions of turning the short into a TV series which is currently being developed by EmCo Entertainment. One thing is for certain: the short will leave you wanting more. It prompts the audience to either question their own social media fixation or reach for their mobile to take their next hit of digital ego-inflation.

Emrhys can be seen next starring in the sci-fi thriller Altered Perception in theaters May 4th, followed by the remake of Nosferatu alongside The Shape of Waters Doug Jones.

Interview - Emrhys Cooper


To being with, tell us about your latest short film ‘Trophy Boy’, what is it about?

Trophy Boy is your classic “riches-to-rags” story. It depicts the downward spiral of James (played by myself) – a spoiled, influencer and narcissist, who, based on his social media accounts, appears to have it all. But, just before his 30th birthday, his much older boyfriend, on whom he was financially dependent, breaks up with him. James now must face reality, with James having no work experience, he has no idea where to start. With his sex-addicted best buddy by his side, James takes a crash course in living and sets out to prove that he doesn’t need anyone to take care of him. He ultimately ends up alienating himself further from reality and comes face-to-face with the bitter fact that if he doesn’t learn to live as an adult in the real world, he’ll never be more than a washed-up, unwanted accessory.

Where did the idea come from? How did you get involved?

I have been a professional actor for the past 15 years and directing was a natural next step in my career.  After witnessing the damage that social media can do to one’s perception of reality, I felt compelled to tell the story of our generation’s obsession with, and addiction to, social media. I also wanted to highlight another area of life that isn’t much talked about: the role of the ‘kept boy’. This is a story that comes from the heart as it reflects some of my own personal experiences of falling into illusion created by social platforms. I believe James’s story is not uncommon; everybody knows a ‘kept’ person.  My aim for this film is to highlight that achieving one’s dreams, being responsible for your own actions, and being honest with yourself and others, are ultimately what will make you happy.

‘Trophy Boy’ is your directional debut, talk us through the challenges? Will you be focusing on directing more than acting in the future?

I just want to continue being creative in front and behind the scenes, as long as I am working on projects I feel passionate about, that’s what is important to me. During the filming Trophy Boy, it was challenging acting and having to direct at the same time, as we didn’t the luxury of much time for me to review the footage. But luckily I had Anthony Johnston (Writer), and a wonderful actress and associate producer on the film Lynn Mancinelli watching the monitors the whole time giving me notes and ideas. I definitely hope to direct more in the future, I’ve caught the bug.

What are your influences as a filmmaker & actor?

I grew up watching a lot of the classics, so I would say I have been heavily influenced by many of the greats such as James Dean, Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando. As far as directors I would say Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielburg and Martin Scorese have all had a big influence on my desire to make movies.

What advice would you give any up-and-coming professionals trying to crack the industry?

Don’t be afraid of hard work. This isn’t easy. But if you’re really passionate about what you’re pursuing, then it will happen when it’s supposed to. Never compare your journey to anyone else’s. We all have our own pace, so be patient.

When & where can we expect to see ‘Trophy Boy’?

It is currently doing the film festival circuit and will be available to watch after it’s run, probably by the end of this year. We are also in early stages of turning it into something bigger, maybe a feature film or a TV series.

What is the next step for you, do you have any other films or projects in production?

I have several films coming out this year. Altered Perception a sci-fi thriller I am starring in is currently playing in theaters in the US. Then later this year you can see me in the remake of Nosferatu starring alongside “The Shape of Waters” Doug Jones. Followed by the Indie Drama The Price For Silence where I am playing a recovering heroin addict. I can also be seen in the Frank Sinatra Bio pic Frank and Ava, where I step into the shoes playing one of my favourite actors Montgomery Clift.

I also set up my own production company EmCo Entertainment, and I am developing several different projects that I hope to see get made this year.


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