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Olivia Kate Cooke[1] (born 27 December 1993) is an English actress. She played Emma Decody in A&E's drama-thriller series Bates Motel from 2013 to 2017, and in 2018 she starred as Becky Sharp in the miniseries, Vanity Fair. Cooke has also starred in the horror films The Quiet Ones (2014) and Ouija (2014), the science fiction film The Signal (2014), the comedy-drama Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), the horror-mystery The Limehouse Golem (2016), the thriller Thoroughbreds (2017), and the Steven Spielberg-directed science-fiction film Ready Player One (2018).

Early life

Cooke was born and raised in Oldham, Greater Manchester. Her father, John Cooke, is a retired police officer, and her mother, Lindsy (née Wild), is a sales representative. She has a younger sister, Eleanor.[2][3][4] When Cooke was a child, her parents divorced, and she and her younger sister lived with their mother.[5] Cooke attended Royton and Crompton Academy and studied drama at Oldham Sixth Form College, leaving before the end of her A-levels to appear in Blackout.[3]

At a young age, Cooke practiced ballet and gymnastics. She started acting when she was 8 years old at an after-school drama programme in her hometown, called the Oldham Theatre Workshop. For years, Cooke performed only as part of the ensemble, until she was 17, when she starred as Maria in Oldham Sixth Form College's production of West Side Story. Soon after, Cooke landed her first and last leading role for the Oldham Theatre Workshop, in Prom: The Musical, a remake of Cinderella.[2][3]

When she was 14, Cooke secured her first local talent agent in Manchester, who placed her in a number of commercials.[6] In 2012, she appeared in One Direction's "Autumn Term" tour video, as a student getting a piggyback ride from Harry Styles.[7] During her audition for this bit part, Cooke entertained the producers by performing a split.[8] Although Cooke's agent discouraged her from enrolling in drama school because she was already getting acting work, Cooke was keen on applying to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). She made it to the final round of auditions, but was not accepted.[2]

Career

2012–2013: Career beginnings

After Cooke performed at the Oldham Theatre Workshop, Beverley Keogh, a casting director next door to her agency, fought to get her roles in television. Cooke starred in two BBC miniseries productions in 2012: Blackout,[9] as the daughter of Christopher Eccleston's character, and The Secret of Crickley Hall, as a young teacher at a tyrannical orphanage in the 1940s.[10][11] Cooke stated that she felt better suited for television than theatre, as she was embarrassed by the exaggerated gestures sometimes required for stage acting.[2] Despite being a novice, Cooke distinguished herself among European actresses in the gruelling casting process for The Quiet Ones, which opened in April 2014, two years after filming took place.[12][13]

In 2012, following The Quiet Ones, Cooke acquired an agent in Los Angeles.[14] After reading the character descriptions for A&E's contemporary Psycho prequel Bates Motel, she sent an audition tape for the role of Emma Decody.[15] Three weeks later, Cooke earned the part of Emma, her first American role.[14] She was originally disappointed when the producers made Emma Mancunian, believing it was a fail-safe measure regarding her accent. However, aided by fellow English actor Freddie Highmore, who has previous experience with an American accent, Cooke has since been mistaken to be American.[2][16] Cooke also contributed short videos for Emma's fictitious blog.[17]

2014–present

Cooke's second feature film The Signal, with Brenton Thwaites and Laurence Fishburne, opened at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.[18] Cooke starred as Haley Peterson, an American MIT student transferring to Caltech, who encounters strange occurrences as she, her boyfriend, and her best friend are lured into the desert by a hacker. In October 2014, Cooke led the cast of Ouija, a horror film based on Hasbro's board game.[19] The role of the protagonist, Laine Morris, was a major undertaking for Cooke, who appeared in almost every scene.[7] The story centred around a group of friends who use the Ouija board to contact a deceased friend, but end up awakening a dark presence.[20] Despite being panned by critics,[21] Ouija was a box office success, grossing approximately $102.5 million worldwide.[22]

Cooke next appeared in the comedy-drama film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.[23] For the coming-of-age tale by Jesse Andrews, who adapted the original novel for the film, Cooke shaved off her hair to play the female lead who battles leukaemia.[24][25] The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards.[26] Also in 2015, Cooke voiced the Loch Ness Monster for an episode of Axe Cop, which was co-written by her Me and Earl and the Dying Girl co-star Nick Offerman.

Cooke played the titular character in the independent drama film Katie Says Goodbye, alongside Jim Belushi, Mireille Enos, Christopher Abbott, and Mary Steenburgen. The film revolves around Katie, a 17-year-old waitress attempting to overcome poverty and start a new life in San Francisco by resorting to prostitution.[27] She next starred in the film adaptation of Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, a gothic murder mystery, opposite Bill Nighy and Douglas Booth.[28] Both films premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. Cooke then starred in the thriller film Thoroughbreds, alongside Anya Taylor-Joy and Anton Yelchin, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.[29]

Cooke starred as Art3mis in Steven Spielberg's science fiction adventure Ready Player One, which was released in March 2018.[30][31] She will also star alongside Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde and Samuel L. Jackson in Dan Fogelman's relationship drama film Life Itself.[32]

Olivia Cooke played the lead character, Becky Sharp in the 2018 ITV production of Vanity Fair.

Personal life

Cooke resides in New York City.[12][33] Cooke is close friends with her Me and Earl and the Dying Girl co-star Thomas Mann,[5] and her Bates Motel co-stars Freddie Highmore and Nicola Peltz.[14]

In 2014, Cooke supported the Save the Children campaign by appearing in Bulgari advertisements.[34]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Director Notes 2018 Ready Player One Samantha Cook / Art3mis Steven Spielberg

Awards and nominations


Year Award Category Work Result Ref
2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards Best Kiss (with Tye Sheridan) Ready Player One Nominated [45]
Best On-Screen Team (with Tye Sheridan, all of the Overlook Hotel characters, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki and Lena Waithe) Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Sci-Fi Movie Actress Pending
Choice Breakout Movie Star Pending

References

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