House of the Dragon is jumping forward 10 years, and there will be two major casting changes. One of those changes is Alicent Hightower. Olivia Cooke is assuming the role originated by Emily Carey.
So, who is Olivia Cooke? The 28-year-old has appeared in several critically-acclaimed shows and films. HollywoodLife has rounded up what you need to know about Olivia.
1. Olivia plays adult Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon.
Like Emma D’Arcy with Rhaenyra Targaryen, Olivia will be taking over the role of Queen Alicent Hightower, King Viserys’ second wife. Olivia will make her first appearance as Alicent in episode 6 of House of the Dragon and will continue to play the character for the duration of the series. Olivia revealed to EW that co-showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik told her that Alicent is “like a woman for Trump.”
Rhaenyra and Alicent, once close friends, will become bitter enemies as a Targaryen civil war brews around them. “Rhaenyra can just get away with anything, and it’s so fine,” Olivia continued. “The king turns a complete blind eye, whereas Alicent has always had to walk this tightrope for her whole entire life. Just the injustice of it that she feels, until things happen and she realizes that none of it f**king matters. She looks around her family, and they’re all f**ked up. She’s like, ‘I’ve been so perfect all my life. I haven’t taken a step wrong, and it doesn’t f**king matter.’ I think what we see in her evolution is this complete existential crisis.”
2. Olivia’s breakout role was in Bates Motel.
Before she was Alicent Hightower, Olivia was best known for her role as Emma Decody, Norman’s best friend who suffers from cystic fibrosis, in the series Bates Motel. She also starred as Becky Sharp in the 2018 limited series Vanity Fair. Her film credits include Ouija, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, and Ready Player One.
3. Olivia is from England.
Olivia grew up in Oldham, Greater Manchester, which is located in England. She started acting as a child and went on to study drama at Oldham Sixth Form College. She currently lives in London.
4. Olivia learned how to sing screamo for Sound of Metal.
Olivia starred in the critically-acclaimed film Sound of Metal opposite Riz Ahmed. Olivia transformed into a metal rocker for her role as Lou Berger. Margaret Chardiet of the band Pharmakon was a mentor to Olivia during filming. “She taught me how to play guitar, how to scream,” Olivia told Cinema Blend. “We wrote the lyrics for the song together even though you can’t quite hear what I’m saying and she was just amazing. And then Riz and I were brought together to immerse these skills we just learned and to become a fully realized band. It was wonderful to have that experience because we were then really bonded by the sheer terror of having to sometime soon perform it and it made the relationship we had on screen that much more nuanced and deep.”
5. Olivia appeared in a One Direction music video.
Olivia was featured in One Direction’s 2012 “Autumn Term” tour video. She was seen getting a piggyback ride from Harry Styles. The actress admitted that she wasn’t starstruck by the band when she filmed the video. “I think they had only been on X Factor, so I didn’t really know who they were. No, it was just a day’s work for a bit of extra pocket money,” she told Digital Spy.