No one quite understands the methods that actors use to get into a character. For some, they immerse themselves into the character and get to know the cast who play the younger versions of themselves or vice versa. For others, they completely close themselves off in order to portray the character with no other influence.
Whatever the case may be, House of the Dragon actors Milly Alcock and Emily Carey, who play the young versions of Rhaenyra Targaryen and Alicent Hightower, never got to meet their older counterparts (played by Emma D’Arcy and Olivia Cooke, respectively).
“Yeah, we didn’t [meet with them],” said Alcock during a press roundtable with The Nerds of Color. “I thought it was a very interesting choice.”
Alcock asked director Miguel Sapochnik if both her and Carey could meet their counterparts from the series but was told no.
“I just trusted that that was the right decision that he made,” Alcock recalled.
“We kept asking [to meet, but] it became very obvious that it wasn’t an accident that we weren’t meeting,” added Carey. “It was a choice from the team.”
Cooke was a bit confused when asked if not meeting her younger counterpart was a conscious effort. She never got the impression that they couldn’t meet.
“I must ask Miguel about that,” Cooke pondered. “Was it conscious or was it imposed on them that they shouldn’t see us? Because we never got that. We just thought they were not interested in us.”
“We’re old,” D’Arcy joked.
Carey did reveal that they did get the creative freedom to do what they wanted with the character and trusted the creative team to decide what was best for their craft.
“There were certain physical traits, themes, characteristics, and personality traits that continued between them,” said Carey. “We trusted Miguel and the team trusted us to know that we would leave it off in the right place and [D’Arcy and Cooke] will pick it up in the perfect place — to which, hopefully, is the case.”
D’Arcy thinks the two younger actresses did a beautiful job as their counterparts and felt like they were watching an old Targaryen home video. There is a sense of familiarity when they watch Alcock’s performance on screen.
“On one hand, I never shared a part with another actor before and taking [the] gauntlet halfway through a series,” said D’Arcy. “I think [we] both have trepidations about stepping on anyone’s toes.”
When asked about keeping the older and younger versions apart, Sapochnik and co-showrunner Ryan J. Condal had no clue about this setup.
“We did everything on purpose,” Sapochnik joked.
As for who came up with the rule for the actors to not meet each other, it’s not entirely clear.
Condal recalled, “In my memory, we really left it up to the individual actors to sort out how they wanted to approach the role and it was really more left to the older cast members, Emma and Olivia, because they were being preceded by their younger versions.”