Shalom Life | December 26, 2014

Breakthrough Jew - Emory Cohen

This 23-year-old actor made his big break in 2013's 'The Place Beyond the Pines'

By: Sarah Bauder

Published: February 13th, 2014 in Culture » Film » News

Breakthrough Jew - Emory Cohen

Hot, hip, and heady, the next wave of Jewish artists and influencers has already arrived. This is Breakthrough Jew, your weekly showcase of those on the verge of discovery and ready to be a regular figure in pop culture; setting trends, redefining genres, and simply getting it done-whatever ‘it’ is. These days, it’s not enough to know what’s hot now; you need to catch someone when they’re just starting to simmer.

Featuring those in film, fashion, food, and beyond, we’ll find the story before substance is obscured by style, before hype meets backlash, and before talent and purpose gets lost in a maze of Internet chatter. See an artist in the cozy bar before they hit the amphitheater, dine at a chef’s new restaurant before the line begins, and catch a young writer’s work before the demands of ratings and longevity encroach.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, as we explore the Jewish landscape for pop culture pioneers.

Name: Emory Cohen

Age: 23

Hometown: New York, NY

Breakthrough Cred: Playing Trevor in Antonio Campos’ ‘Afterschool’ alongside Ezra Miller

Manhattan native, Emory Cohen, may only have a handful of feature films under his belt, but he’s already making a splash in Hollywood… which is quite ironic for someone who (as of this interview) had only been to Los Angeles once.

During a recent conversation with Interview magazine, Cohen stated, “I’ve been to L.A once… I can’t drive so I’m thinking about moving back to Philly and commuting to California for auditions. In terms of underground art and theater, Philly is cooler.”

Philadelphia is Cohen’s adopted home. After graduating from high school in New York City, he was awarded a full scholarship to University of the Arts where he studied acting.

After appearing in a few short films, Cohen made his mark in Antonio Campos’ 2008 drama ‘Afterschool’, starring alongside Ezra Miller. The film debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard program, and went on to receive nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards and Gotham Awards, eventually winning the Jury Prize for experimental narrative film at the Nashville Film Festival.

Emory Cohen and Dane DeHaan in 'The Place Beyond the Pines'

He subsequently starrer in Michael Imperiloi’s ‘The Hungry Ghosts’, Andrew Brotzman’s ‘Nor’easter’, Gita Pullapilly and Aron Gaudet’s ‘Blue Potato’ and Joshua Sanchez’s ‘Four. The latter won him and fellow cast members the Los Angeles Film festival prize for Best Ensemble Performance.

Cohen’s big Hollywood break came just last year in Derek Cianfrance’s ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’, in which he portrayed Bradley Cooper’s characters troubled son, A.J – role that landed him on Indiewire’s ’25 Best Breakthrough Performances of 2013’.

“He is, at first, almost unbearably unlikable, Cohen doing almost too good a job at showing what an entitled little dick little AJ's turned out to be, but he's still a kid too, and the young actor shows real vulnerability once he realizes who Jason really is. Dane DeHaan, with whom Cohen shares much of his screen time, has already established himself as one of the best actors of his generation, but that Cohen was able to even stand out alongside him is certainly a testament to the potential he holds,” Indiewire writes of Cohen’s performance in ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’.

Emory Cohen and Debra Messing in 'Smash'

In addition to his impressive feature film work, Cohen also starred on the first season of acclaimed television series ‘Smash’ as Debra Messing and Brian d’Arcy James’ son, Leo.

Cohen will next hit the big screen in ‘The Gambler’, playing a star tennis player amongst an all-star cast including Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, and Brie Larson.

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