House of the Dragon actress Olivia Cooke—who plays the older Alicent Hightower—says she pushed back after the show's directors told her to play her character “like a woman for Trump.”
Cooke says the suggestion left a bad taste in her mouth and she didn't want to pay former Republican President Donald Trump—or his controversial and grifting family—any more mind.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, she said:
“I just didn’t want to give them any more mental real estate than they already had."
"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.”
Cooke disagreed with that characterization of Alicent considering Emily Carey—who played the younger version of the character—portrayed a young woman who is used by the men around her for their personal political gain.
“Alicent has been completely bred to breed, and to breed powerful men. That’s her only function in this life."
“She can tell herself that she’s going to sway and nurture and persuade in a very womanly, feminine way, but it’s all f**king bullsh*t. Unless you’re fighting the men, you’ll never be heard."
"It’s learning to live within this straightjacket of oppression. How do I move inch by inch every single day to loosen the straps?”
She stressed it is important to look at the character through a "humanitarian" lens, noting she's done some "f**king despicable stuff" at a great personal cost.
"But then you’ve got to think, she’s trying to protect her son. She’s trying to uphold the patriarchy. She’s trying to uphold the legitimacy of the crown."
"All these things that she feels are so much bigger than she is. I think that’s why when she can’t control that, she turns to faith more as some sort of tangible element of control, because she doesn’t have any in her life whatsoever.”
Many praised Cooke for standing her ground and offered their own observations on the character.
Cooke rose to prominence after starring in Bates Motel alongside Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga.
In the years since, she's received critical acclaim for performances in films like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Thoroughbreds, and Sound of Metal.
In addition to her role on House of the Dragon, Cooke stars as an MI5 agent in the AppleTV+ series Slow Horses, which has been praised for refreshing the espionage genre.