If You Love Olivia Cooke In "House Of The Dragon," Here Are Nine Of Her Other Best Performances

A collection of photos of Olivia Cooke

With Episode 6 of HBO's House of the Dragon, we saw a 10-year leap forward in time and the recasting of several of the show's main characters. Most notable for me is the arrival of the masterful Olivia Cooke as Queen Alicent Hightower (and don't you forget it), replacing the much sweeter and more docile Emily Carey. She may only have one episode under her belt, but Cooke's Alicent has already forced a bleeding Princess Rhaenyra to drag herself up several flights of stairs, made sweeping allegations regarding bastards in line for the crown, and watched her son masturbate out the palace windows. I'll be anxiously waiting to see what chaos she can unleash in the season's four remaining episodes (aided, of course, by her ghoul-like husband, tongue-severing henchman, and oh-so-hot-but-oh-so-annoying Ser Criston Cole).

If while you watched last night's episode, you thought to yourself, "Wow, Olivia Cooke is a masterful actor. She is eating up these scenes. No one else is getting anywhere close to the level of talent she has. Give this woman an Emmy. Should I join her fan club? I wonder if she sells merch." Then you are not alone, because I, too, was amazed, astonished, and ordered this shirt from Etsy. But Olivia Cooke is no newcomer to the world of film and television. She's been turning out consistently incredible work for nearly a decade, and I have no idea what her fate will be on House of the Dragon (because I didn't read the spoilers), but I'm praying to the gods (both the old and the new) that Alicent gets that Iron Throne.

While we wait for her new episodes, however, here is a quick primer on the always incredible Olivia Cooke. From indie dramas to splashy spy thrillers, she's got an IMDb page packed with mesmerizing performances. Here are nine of her best for your viewing pleasure:

(Oh, and she was also in one of the pre-taped videos One Direction used to play at their concerts. A legend.)

Art by: Alexa Fishman. Photos: Claire Folger/Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection; Saban Films/Courtesy Everett Collection; Ollie Upton/HBO; RLJ Entertainment / courtesy Everett Collection; Apple TV+/Courtesy Everett Collection

1.Bates Motel (2013-17)

Olivia Cooke wearing oxygen tubes

While Olivia Cooke had appeared on several British television shows before Bates Motel, this was certainly the role that launched her as an international star. If there is a show that the world is sleeping on, it is Bates Motel. This prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic Psycho was buzzy during its first season on A&E before inexplicably fading into obscurity (despite Rihanna herself appearing in the fifth season). Cooke plays Emma Decody, Norman Bates' (Freddie Highmore) classmate and best friend. Brainy and sincere, Emma is the grounding force of the spiraling Bates family, and a breath of fresh air in the series. Struggling with cystic fibrosis and her own family drama (as if she didn't have enough with the population of White Pine Bay dying constantly), Emma is put through the wringer and yet remains the hero of the series. Cooke holds her own against Vera Farmiga and Highmore who are devouring their scenes, and it is easy to see why casting directors plucked her up after watching her solve mysteries at the corpse-strewn motel. Plus, if you're loving House of the Dragon's incest plot lines, you can get more of that here.

Watch it on Peacock.

Carol Sigal/A&E/Courtesy Everett Collection

2.Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)

Olivia Cooke, Thomas Mann, and RJ Cyler sit on a stoop

In what was perhaps a bit of typecasting, Cooke's next big role came in the indie darling two years later where she swapped her cystic fibrosis diagnosis for leukemia as the titular dying girl. The film, which follows a Pittsburgh teen and his "coworker" (aka friend, but he doesn't like that term) who form an unlikely bond with a dying former classmate because his parents insist he do so. This is certainly a showcase of everything that Cooke can do, as she's flexing her drama muscles as she battles with chemo (emotionally and physically) while delivering her signature deadpan humor. Cooke certainly isn't afraid of dark roles (plenty more to come), and that is what makes her one of the most interesting young actors we have in the business today.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Fox Searchlight / Fox Searchlight / Everett Collection

3.The Limehouse Golem (2016)

Bill Nighy and Olivia Cooke hold hands an look at one another

As if a television show about incestuous homicidal motel owners or a film about a teen girl dying of cancer weren't dark enough, Olivia Cooke's followup to Earl was this grizzly serial killer mystery set in Victorian England. Cooke plays Lizzie Cree, a woman on trial for the murder of her husband, who is in turn a suspect in a series of brutal Jack the Ripper-style killings in London. Bill Nighy (who was marvelous in this year's Living) plays the lead detective trying to exonerate Cree, and Cooke seems right at home acting against such a veteran. Dark, moody, and with plenty of brutal murder scenes, The Limehouse Golem is a wonderfully haunting murder mystery that deserved more attention than it got upon its largely VOD release in the US. It feels only right and proper that you should watch this as a companion piece to House of the Dragon, where people in old-timey attire are also stabbed to death.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Nick Wall/RLJ Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Thoroughbreds (2017)

Anya-Taylor Joy and Olivia Cooke hang out outside

Words cannot express how much I adore this dark comedy about a pair of high school girls planning to commit murder. Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) wants her evil stepdad dead, and she enlists the help of her sociopathic, monotone classmate Amanda (Cooke) to get the job done. Cooke again thrives in this dark, creepy tale, and if you are loving the familial intrigue in House of the Dragon, this will certainly appeal to you. Plus ATJ's outfits are perfect, and the final living room one-take scene will stay with you for months after you watch it. It's hard to declare a favorite Olivia Cooke film or performance because she really has so many, but this is definitely near the top of the list if not #1.

Watch it on HBO Max.

Claire Folger/Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

5.Ready Player One (2018)

a video game avatar runs through a field

If you forgot that Olivia Cooke was in Ready Player One, it's probably because for much of the film, she is voicing the virtual reality version of herself Art3mis, who looks nothing like Cooke. When our hero Wade (Tye Sheridan) comes under threat outside of the game, however, he meets up with Art3mis' corporeal counterpart Samantha Cooke (convenient naming) who is played by O. Cooke in the flesh. While I would argue that the Steven Spielberg-directed film is not nearly as good as the Ernest Cline novel it's based on, it is still a rompy adventure, and by far Cooke's biggest hit. While there is a sequel to the novel, let's all pray that they do not make it into a film because the book was horrifically bad, and Olivia Cooke's talents should not be wasted on such trifles.

Rent it on Prime Video.

Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Vanity Fair (2018)

Olivia Cooke rides on a carousel

If you are a British actor, you are contractually obligated to do at least one adaptation of a classic novel. (It's some kind of UK actor illuminati thing. IDK, I don't make the rules.) Miss Cooke completed her required "you could be required to watch this in a Brit Lit class performance" by taking the lead role in this miniseries adapting William Makepeace Thackeray's novel (which as been sitting on my bookshelf for some time, but which I have not read). Cooke got rave reviews for portraying Becky Sharp, the cynical social climber. As I have been saying, Olivia Cooke is not here to play the nice girls-next-door or the naive love interests. She's working on a darker, more twisted level (see Alicent Hightower), and that carries over even to this project. The costumes may be pretty and pink, but there is just a hint of sinister behavior here that makes the character pop.

Watch it on Prime Video.

Robert Viglasky/Amazon Studios

7.Sound of Metal (2019)

Olivia Cooke sits in RV

I will be on my deathbed as an 95-year-old gay man dying at the Upper West Side AMC (my final resting place), and I will still be hoarsely shouting about the injustice that was Olivia Cooke not getting her first Oscar nomination for her work as the bleached-eyebrowed girlfriend Lou in Sound of Metal. The film got six Oscar nominations and two wins. Olivia Cooke has several tremendous scenes trying to process the fact that her lover is going deaf. And yet, she got basically no awards attention for the film. Shame on everyone who did not vote for her and decided to nominate Glenn Close as Mamaw in Hillbilly Elegy instead. Cooke is tremendous here as someone trying to be supportive and yet selfish at the same time. I look forward to the day when the Academy finally pays her her due.

Watch it on Prime Video.

Amazon/Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Pixie (2020)

Olivia Cooke stands in a kitchen

You've probably never heard of Pixie, as it was unceremoniously dropped onto VOD in the States after its theatrical release in the UK, but I'm here to tell you to go watch this Irish heist thriller. Cooke yet again plays a dark character with mixed motives, this time avenging her mother while pulling off a heist on a bunch of gangster priests and gangster nuns. While Olivia Cooke is very fun in her deadpan, let's-stir-up-trouble way, this movie is also worth watching for Daryl McCormack, who had a breakout role this year in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, and is also exceptional here. Plus, who doesn't like watching a middle-aged nun wield a machine gun?

Watch it on Prime Video.

Saban Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

9.Slow Horses (2022)

Jack Lowden, Christopher Chung, Olivia Cooke, and Paul Higgins huddle around a computer

Finally, Olivia Cooke's most recent pre-House of the Dragon performance comes in the first season of this British spy series in which she plays Sid Baker, the only competent MI5 agent on a team of misfits. Eternally exasperated by her colleagues, especially Jack Lowden's River, she provides the show with some of her dry humor. While she won't be returning for the second season of the show, leaving Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Gary Oldman to proceed without her, Cooke launches the show strongly and proves what she's capable of even in a bit role. While it remains unclear how long Cooke will star in House of the Dragon, this work shows how powerful she can be in just a few episodes.

Watch it on Apple TV+.

Apple TV+/Courtesy Everett Collection

Watch Olivia Cooke in new episodes of House of the Dragon on HBO. And stream all episodes of the show on HBO Max.

Olivia Cooke and Rhys Ifans by the sea
Ollie Upton/HBO