Olivia Cooke, who’s taken over as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon, was given a specific direction on how to play her: as a “woman for Trump.”
House of the Dragon, HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel chronicling the Targaryen reign under King Viserys I (Paddy Considine) and the conflicts which lead to the Dance of the Dragons, is heading into its second half of its first season.
It’s drawn critical acclaim, particularly for the performances from Milly Alcock and Emily Carey as Rhaenyra and Alicent, respectively.
However, with a time jump in the upcoming episode, Cooke will play Alicent going forward, and she’s said there’s elements of Trumpism in her character.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cooke spoke about taking on the character and the direction she received from showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik.
“She’s like a woman for Trump,” they told the star, she recalled.
“I just didn’t want to give them any more mental real estate than they already had,” Cooke continued.
“So I tried to find a different route into her, but I could see what they were saying with this complete indoctrination and denial of her own autonomy and rights. I just couldn’t be asked to go down that road.”
Sapochnik spoke about this comparison in an earlier interview with Empire, explaining how the idea for the show to orbit around Rhaenyra and Alicent came from his wife, Alexis Raben, who’s also a development executive at his production company.
“If you really focused in on the patriarchy’s perception of women, and the fact that they’d rather destroy themselves than see a woman on the throne,” he said.
“What if Alicent is like, ‘Women for Trump’ and Rhaenyra’s like punk rock?”
House of the Dragon Episode 6 will be available to watch on September 25 in the US and September 26 in the UK.