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The Industry
Fabien Frankel as 'Ser Criston Cole' in 'House of the Dragon' sitting in firelight

Image credit: Ollie Upton/HBO / Still From House of the Dragon

Ahead of season 2, actor Fabien Frankel looks back on how he got the role of ‘Ser Criston Cole’ in ‘House of the Dragon’.

Like its predecessor, HBO’s House of the Dragon has been a wildly popular series, bringing back the political and familial scheming, epic battles, and fire-breathing dragons that made Game of Thrones such a success. The season one finale brought in a staggering 9.3 million viewers, while the series as a whole has a very respectable 92% rating on Rotten Tomatoes

Fabien Frankel was one of the actors who secured a coveted part in the prequel series. His role, ‘Ser Criston Cole’, sees him with plenty of screen time and a storyline heavily entwined with series leads Emma D’Arcy, Milly Alcock, who play ‘Rhaenyra Targaryen’  and Olivia Cooke, who plays ‘Alicent Hightower’.

Earlier this year at the CDG Awards, we had the chance to ask Fabien how he successfully auditioned for this role – along with a few behind-the-scenes questions we were just dying to know the answers to! Here’s what he shared:

Hi, Fabien! Could you tell us about the audition process for ‘House of the Dragon’?

I actually read for it six months before I was offered the part. I did a self-tape – I don’t think it was a very good self-tape, or at least it didn’t feel very good. And then I remember hearing a note from my agent that they decided to go for a more burly, strong-looking man – a Jason Momoa type. I didn’t feel like I was very Jason Momoa-y. And that was it. I didn’t really think anything of it.

Then, about six months later, my agent called and said, “The director and writer of House of the Dragon would love to get on a Zoom with you,” which I was incredibly surprised about, given what I felt was not the best audition in the world! 

Then I got on the Zoom call, and they offered me the part. I don’t really know how that happened, but yeah. I just remember struggling to breathe a bit because I thought they made a mistake.

How did you prepare for the role of ‘Ser Criston Cole’?

I read the script a lot, and, well, there was a book, which was very useful. So I read. Our story is a certain chunk of this book called Fire and Blood

I just sort of copied what everyone else was doing mainly, and tried to do what they were doing, because it felt like they were doing the right thing.

Can you tell us about the filming process for the intimacy scenes between you and Milly Alcock?

We worked with this lady called Miriam (Lucia) who helped a great deal. I mean, I had one intimacy scene in the first season with Milly. Yeah, Miriam was great.

I think we were really lucky because we had an amazing director, Clare Kilner, who we trusted so much. Miriam and Clare were very in tandem with each other, so that helped Milly and I a great deal.

A massive thanks to Fabien for taking us behind the scenes of his ‘House of the Dragon’ audition! ‘House of the Dragon’ is available to watch on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

Take a look at our website for more interviews with actors, agents and casting directors.