A FORMER Brighton schoolgirl has walked the red carpet in Los Angeles this week (June 7) at the premiere of her latest Hollywood movie.

Actress Ceri Bethan is the only Brit to be cast in online dating romcom Casual Encounters, which also stars Taran Killam, who appeared in 12 Years A Slave.

The 33-year-old also stars alongside Scream actor David Arquette and Brooklyn Decker, who appeared in What To Expect When You’re Expecting and is married to tennis ace Andy Roddick.

Ceri plays girl-next-door Emily, who becomes the target of Killam’s character, Justin, when his longtime girlfriend leaves him heartbroken after a public breakup. Justin’s friends Sammy (David Krumholtz) and Louis (Arquette) encourage him to sign up to the dating site Casual Encounters. Justin embarks on a series of disastrous and hilarious hook-ups before he realises that he likes his coworker Laura (Decker). Unfortunately the road to Justin and Laura getting together and pursuing their respective dreams is not as smooth as they hoped.

“Playing Emily was just as much fun off-screen as it appears on-screen,” said Ceri, who now lives in an apartment in the Miracle Mile district of downtown LA.

“The camaraderie between the cast and crew on set was such a joy to experience, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard making a movie. Playing opposite Brooklyn and Taran constantly elevated the comedic stakes, which pushed and challenged us to deliver our best work.”

So how did this former pupil of Dorothy Stringer School and Varndean College hit the big time in Hollywood?

“Acting has always been a passion with me,” said Ceri, who has two sisters and a brother. “My grandmother was quite the performer when she was younger, although she never became an actor, and she used to tell us stories.

“I think I took after her. My older sister and I used to stage performances for our parents in front of the living room fireplace – and my sister was so bossy she taught me how to take direction and critique.

“It was my parents’ enthused applause that sowed the seed for a bigger stage.”

At the age of seven, Ceri played Cinderella in a local stage production, and at 11 she was cast in her first professional role in a production of Puccini’s La Boheme with Glyndebourne’s Touring Opera Company.

Her first movie role came while she was still at school, in the indie film The Big Finish with Kevin Bishop, and after studying for a degree in Drama at Aberystwyth, Ceri was offered a place at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

Talent-spotted by agents in New York, she was urged to move to the USA, and packed her suitcase to head for LA in 2008. She honed her acting skills with coaches including Ivana Chubbock, who has worked with Halle Berry and Brad Pitt, and Warner Loughlin, acting coach to Amy Adams and Ryan Reynolds.

After acquiring her Green Card, the permit to live and work in the US permanently, Ceri was cast in movies alongside some of Hollywood’s fastest rising stars: Pitch Perfect’s Skylar Astin in the 2014 romcom Cavemen, Adam Marcinowski in the award-winning movie Chasing The Past, and now playing Brooklyn Decker’s best friend in Casual Encounters.

“I’ve been so excited about the premiere of the movie this week (Tuesday June 7),” said Ceri. “It’s always a proud moment because you’re finally showing publicly what you have been working on – but it’s also a bit nerve-wracking because you’re trying hard not to squeal when everyone’s shouting your name.

“Making a Hollywood movie is not so different to making one in England – except Hollywood movies are just on a bigger scale. The sets are bigger but the preparation is still exactly the same.

“It was great to be the only Brit in Casual Encounters and I loved the fact that I was allowed to keep my English accent.

“Everyone here in LA comments on my English accent every day. In fact, when I visit England, I’m quite shocked when no one comments.”

Ceri frequently returns to Brighton to visit her mother, Linda, who lives in Patcham, her sister, a travel writer, and her grandmother. Her mother has just returned from visiting Ceri in LA on the US’s Mother’s Day. Her other siblings live in Surrey.

“I do miss Brighton, said Ceri, who has an American boyfriend and two rescue dogs. “But the last time I visited, I didn’t feel the connection so much, and I’ve lived in LA for so long now it feels like home. “

In 2013, Ceri launched her own production company, Four Rose Productions, which produced a new play, Double Bind, for the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Written by Blake Abramovitz and starring Ceri opposite Blake Shields and Clark Freeman, the production won awards for best writer and the Best of Fringe Award.

She has also produced a short film for One Billion Rising, a global movement to end violence towards women. “As soon as I heard about One Billion Rising, it struck a chord with me,” said Ceri. “The statistics are shocking and it has become something I feel passionate about.”

• Casual Encounters (US rating R) is now out in the US. A UK release date has not been confirmed yet.