When audiences tune into HBO Max’s Game of Thrones spin-off The House of the Dragon on Sunday (September 25), there will be a few changes.
The two actors, Emily Carey and Milly Alcock, who portrayed the young frenemies, Queen Alicent Hightower and Princess Rhaenyra, respectively, have been recast as the show time jumps a decade forward for its sixth episode.
Olivia Cooke will now take over the role of the Queen and Emma D’Arcy will be playing the Princess. While they are playing the same characters at different stages of their lives, the producers decided they didn’t want the pairs to meet during production.
Alcock told Reuters: “There was no baton to pass on to. I didn’t speak to Emma. I have only met them a few times, which is why this whole experience has been so weird, being like ‘Oh we play the same person, but I’ve never really met you’.”
Confirming these stipulations, Carey said at the House of the Dragon premiere that “it was sort of made very clear quite quickly that it was a choice and not an accident that we hadn’t met and I think what it is, is that in 10 years you change a huge amount, especially when you’re seeing someone go from little girls into fully fledged women, there’s a huge amount of changing that happens. It was almost essentially like we were playing two different characters, two very, very different people”.
Cooke, however, was unaware that the pairs of actors weren’t supposed to interact with one another, despite filming at the same time, and said she had talked to them at times. She only learned about the arrangement at the Hollywood premiere.
“I just heard that they were told to stay away from us and me and Emma never got the memo to stay away from them, so we were just like ‘Oh my god, how are you finding it? What’s going on?’ and maybe that was really bad for their process.”