House of the Dragon star Olivia Cooke ‘traumatised’ as director ordered her to lose weight

Olivia Cooke stars in ITV drama Vanity Fair

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Olivia Cooke, 28, appeared in two TV dramas as a fresh-faced teenager. During the production for one of those shows, the star claimed the director told her to lose weight despite the fact she was already slim. 

The actress is set to play Alicent Hightower in HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. 

Olivia, who was only 18 at the time, had been appearing on two major TV dramas – Blackout with Christopher Eccleston and The Secret of Crickley Hall – though it’s unclear if the director was working on either of these shows. 

In a recent interview, she said: “I realised quite early on that the aesthetic and how people perceive your body is quite important. 

“For one of my earliest jobs, the director asked me to lose weight for the role. I was already really slim, but I was young. 

“I was 18, so I had a chubby face because I was a child. 

“I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m in the movie business, someone’s asked me to lose weight. It’s happening.’”

She explained when the cast found out, they began sneaking her food and she added the experience “traumatised her”. 

Olivia went on, claiming that the unnamed director would taunt her with plates of sweet snacks. 

The Vanity Fair star thinks the atmosphere in film production is now “more sly” since that time, with directors knowing how to “word it” now. 

Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said she tries her best not to worry about her body, after discovering she had cellulite at the age of nine. 

Despite trying to fight it, she does find herself “down the rabbit hole” of Instagram occasionally, looking at others’ bodies. 

House of the Dragon will arrive this weekend on HBO Max and Sky. 

The series is set prior to the events of Game of Thrones and follows the origins of the house Targaryen. 

In the UK, viewers will be able to tune in on Sky Atlantic and the NOW streaming service. 

Speaking in an interview from March 2021, after she had recently been cast in her role, Olivia said she didn’t watch Game of Thrones until after she had landed the role. 

Talking with at the time, she admitted she couldn’t jump on to the fantasy bandwagon. 

She said: “I only watched it once I got the offer. I hadn’t seen it before.

“It was so beloved and I was always going to get round to it, but then it just got away from me.

“Suddenly it was like eight series and I was like, ‘I don’t know when I’m ever going to watch this’ – until when I got the offer. 

“That was as good an excuse as any.”

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