A actor from Cobham is fast becoming a hit in the United States after he moved to Hollywood four years ago.

Brandon Koen hails from Cobham and decided to move to the US — Los Angeles specifically (Hollywood even more specifically) — to pursue his budding acting career four years ago.

Speaking to the Surrey Comet from LA, Mr Koen said that the move to Hollywood, as might be expected for those hoping to get into the industry, had been a boon for his budding career as an actor.

"Moving here has been the most educational experience for me. I’ve met so many talented filmmakers and writers which has allowed me to be involved in fantastic indie projects," Mr Koen said, before revealing some of the A-list celebrities he has rubbed shoulders with since the move.

"In my first year here I met Johnny Depp at a screening of Black Mass at the Dolby Theatre.... I also spoke to Jonah Hill after seeing his brilliant film ‘Mid 90s' and meeting people like Ron Howard and Seth Rogen...these experiences came as a result of it being the centre of the entertainment industry," he added.

Surrey Comet: Mr Koen with Johnny Depp. Image: BKMr Koen with Johnny Depp. Image: BK

The move certainly seems to have paid off for the former Cobham man.

Mr Koen's resume now boasts a host of indie and short films including The Solipsist Mind (2016), The Little Picture (2018) and Benji (2018), a short film of his own creation for which he won Best Actor in an Indie Film at the November 2018 Actors Awards in LA, one of eight gongs the film picked up.

"I'm really proud of that," Mr Koen said of Benji, going on to describe some of the lessons he's learned as a result of his move to California.

"Moving to the US taught me the value of building a strong network and keeping good people around you. When you’re out here by yourself the people you surround yourself are everything and affect the way your life moves forward.

"It’s taught me to be kind and generous with people in your private and professional life because that kind of energy is contagious and it’s invaluable for success."

Despite the sunshine and successes the move has wrought, though, Mr Koen still misses parts of his previous life in the UK.

Since the move he described discovering personally "how valuable time is with family and how much I miss them."

Mr Koen also issued a warning to those of us dreaming of LA's perpetual summer, while accepting that it was pretty difficult to top.

"You can’t really beat the consistent sunshine in Los Angeles but sometimes I miss the grey skies and rain in England," he said, adding that with every return to LA "I realize how lucky I am to live in a city with a year long summer!"

The Cobham man, who grew up in South Africa before his time spent living in the UK and later the US, described some of his influences and experiences that had led him on the path to Hollywood.

Though now making a name for himself as a highly promising actor and writer-director, he in fact started out dancing.

"I got into dance before acting. I was shy and quiet as a young teenager so acting was a little scary to me.

"I became really interested in dancing hip hop around 13 and made it into the finals of a Disney channel competition. Two years later I danced twice on The Ellen Show in Los Angeles — I think that’s when I fell in love with both performing and LA," Mr Koen said.

Quizzed on his influences, he cited virtuoso directors Tim Burton and Paul Thomas Anderson as inspirations for own work, and named another actor alongside the aforementioned Mr Depp as a particular idol of his.

"I love the (Paul Thomas Anderson) films The Master (2012) as well as Magnolia (1999). Primarily because Philip Seymour Hoffman is so brilliantly raw and real in both of them, another actor I absolutely love..."

Mr Koen is currently working on several upcoming projects including two web series, one of which is expected to be released relatively soon after post-production is completed.

For more information, see his IMDB page: www.imdb.com/name/nm7659482/?ref_=tt_ov_dr