The 'House of the Dragon' casting director used teenage photos of Emma D'Arcy to find the right young Rhaenyra
"House of the Dragon" casting director Kate Rhode James is featured in a new book about the show.
James talks about discovering actor Milly Alcock in "Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty."
One of the things that helped find the right young Rhaenyra was teenage photos of Emma D'Arcy.
In the new book "House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty," author Gina McIntyre reveals new details about how the show's stellar ensemble cast came together.
After finding her "punk rock" Rhaenyra in nonbinary actor Emma D'Arcy, casting director Kate Rhode James asked them to send photos from their teenage years.
James was able to use those images of D'Arcy to help cast a younger performer to play Princess Rhaenyra in her teenage years.
The casting director said in the book that it's very important with dual actors playing the same role to have something physical they can identify in both people.
"Whether it's the shape of the nose or the shape of the eyes — it's got to be something," James said.
Over the course of the first five episodes of "House of the Dragon," Rhaenyra Targaryen goes from 14 years old to almost 18 years old while Alcock plays the character. Then, in episode six, there's a big time jump and D'Arcy takes over the role. They'll continue to star as now-Queen Rhaenyra in season two.
Alcock was 20 years old when she was cast as the young Rhaenyra.
James found her after watching a 2019 Australian series called "Upright," and said Alcock has the same-shaped eyes as D'Arcy and she was the right age for the role.
"She's very like Emma in the sense that she is a one-off," James said. "She's unique. She's not trained — she's all instinct."
"House of the Dragon" writer and showrunner Ryan Condal describes D'Arcy in a similar way in the new official HBO book.
"I see Emma as a very old soul," Condal said. "They're one of the smartest actors I've ever met or spoken to. A lot of actors, there's one dimension they bring to a role. Then there are these unicorn actors who can convey subtle emotion through minor changes in just the way they breathe, or a glance. Emma had that. Emma is a completely different entity in a really good way."
"House of the Dragon: Inside the Creation of a Targaryen Dynasty" is out in bookstores now. Read Insider's breakdown of why the HBO fantasy series was the best TV show of 2022.
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