What to Know About 'House of the Dragon' Breakout Star Fabien Frankel

From his background in theater to his first-ever film opposite Game of Thrones alum Emilia Clarke, here's everything to know about the actor who plays Criston Cole in the HBO prequel series

Fabien Frankel attends HBO's HOUSE OF THE DRAGON Premiere Event at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on July 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

It's our honor to introduce to you Fabien Frankel, the charming actor who plays Ser Criston Cole on the HBO series, House of the Dragon.

Frankel's character reins from the House of Cole and is a "solitary man and one who doesn't come from this world, this world of excess, and this world of greed and money," as described by the actor to Variety.

Set roughly 200 years prior to Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon chronicles the squabbles within the house of Targaryen.

While viewers only caught a glimpse of Criston in the first episode of House of the Dragon, the character is soon to step further into the spotlight, casting a shinier light on the armor-wearing actor.

From his background in theater to his first-ever film opposite GoT alum Emilia Clarke, here's everything to know about Frankel.

His father was an accomplished actor

Fabien Frankel speaks onstage during HBO's "House of the Dragon" panel at Comic Con at San Diego Convention Center on July 23, 2022 in San Diego, California.

The London-born actor's father, Mark, appeared in several TV shows and films prior to his death when Frankel was a toddler. While his mom was a bit more apprehensive about Frankel's pursuit of acting, his father gave him hope.

"It made it feel like not an impossibility, I suppose," Frankel told Variety of his dad's acting career. "I think for a lot of kids it feels like a very distant thing."

He studied acting in school

In an attempt to gain further support from his mother, Frankel proved his talents when he got accepted into acting school. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.

After earning his degree, his first professional gig was on the stage in 2017, when he was cast in The Knowledge by Jack Rosenthal at the Charing Cross Theatre in London.

But interestingly enough, school plays were never his thing. In fact, he told Variety that he was "terrible" and never landed a lead. "The one time I ever even got close to playing a part, they gave me Photographer No. 2 in Singin' in the Rain," he admitted.

House of the Dragon isn't his first onscreen role

Fabien Frankel - HBO House of the Dragon, Season 1
Ollie Upton/HBO Max

While Frankel has surely caught the attention of viewers with his role as Ser Criston Cole in House of the Dragon, the actor appeared in several TV shows and movies prior to his HBO casting.

His first film role was coincidentally alongside Game of Thrones alum Emilia Clarke in 2019's Last Christmas. His other works include the NYPD Blue reboot, BBC's The Serpent and An Uncandid Portrait. He's also slated to appear in Venice at Dawn, an upcoming indie film.

His mom was the first person he told about his House of the Dragon casting

Frankel first learned he landed his House of the Dragon role over Zoom. In the midst of feeling like he was "going to faint," he picked up the phone to reveal the exciting news to the person closest to him.

"I called my mom," Frankel told HeyUGuys in an interview. According to the actor, his mother was filled with a mixture of excitement and disbelief. "She was like, 'You've got it wrong. That has not happened,'" Frankel said of his mom's reaction.

He has an interest in directing

Fabien Frankel attends Vanity Fair and Lancôme Celebrate the Future of Hollywood at Mother Wolf on March 24, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Jon Kopaloff/Getty

In addition to acting, Frankel can see himself working behind the camera as well. "I think I'm as ambitious to be a director as I am to continue acting," he told Variety. "But I certainly wouldn't want to direct myself." Some of his influences include Greta Gerwig, Paul Thomas Anderson, Salvador Dali and Stanley Kubrick.

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