House of the Dragon: Emma D’Arcy thought they had lost the role of Rhaenyra

Emma D'Arcy stars as Rhaenyra Targaryen in Episode 10 of HBO's House of the Dragon Season 1
Emma D’Arcy stars as Rhaenyra Targaryen in Episode 10 of House of the Dragon Season 1. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

House of the Dragon has been a massive success for HBO this year and is already confirmed for Season 2, which will not likely air until 2024.

Designed as a prequel to their original series, Game of Thrones, this story took a deep dive into House Targaryen.

Having to traverse a long period of time in Season 1, many of the actors initially cast were then recast as their characters aged up.

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Among them was Rhaenyra Targaryen, initially portrayed by Milly Alcock and then replaced by Emma D’Arcy.

Emma was the first to secure the role, and then an actor was sought who bore a resemblance to them for the character’s younger years.

And while it’s hard to imagine anyone else as the older Rhaenyra now, apparently, the actor thought they hadn’t secured the job at all.

Emma D’Arcy thought they had missed out on House of the Dragon role

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Emma D’Arcy revealed the audition process and how they assumed they hadn’t won the part when HBO didn’t contact them.

“My partner and I cobbled together a wig out of literally a bag of hair and then after three months of doing that, I was invited for a four- or five-hour in-person audition, did that, and then after that, I was told, ‘You’ll hear something next week.’ And then I didn’t,” Emma revealed.

While the actor assumed they had lost the role, it turns out that wasn’t the case.

“Then I was told it was probably not going my way. And I thought, ‘Wow, it’s a real shame.’ I went to the countryside, just for the weekend, to start metabolizing, and at the end of that weekend, I had about 14 missed calls from my agent. I spoke to him the next morning to hear, ‘They changed their mind! Do you want to do it?'”

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Emma D'Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, as seen in Season 1 of HBO's House of the Dragon
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Emma D’Arcy as Rhaenyra Targaryen, as seen in Season 1 of House of the Dragon. Pic credit: HBO/Ollie Upton

Olivia Cooke was also unsure of her House of the Dragon audition

And it wasn’t just Emma D’Arcy who thought they’d missed out on their House of the Dragon role.

Olivia Cooke, who portrays the older version of Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon, also tells a similar story.

She explains to THR that she underwent various audition processes that went over a series of months. At first, she thought she had definitely gotten the role, but then things went quiet, just like they did for Emma.

“We’re going to put you on hold. Don’t take any jobs,” Olivia was told by the series showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik.

“I was like, ‘It’s the pandemic. I’m not going to get any jobs!’ And then two weeks turned into six weeks and then, in the middle of October, I got a call from all my agents, which is usually a good sign that you’ve got the job.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

HBO has not yet set a release date for Season 2 of House of the Dragon.

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