Ewan Mitchell's extraordinary acting skills in Claire Denis' sci-fi horror High Life.

House of the Dragon actor talks about Aemond Targaryen wanting to be loved.

Director of House of the Dragon praises Ewan Mitchell.

CAUTION: Explicit Content Ahead 

Created by George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal, HBO’s fantasy drama television series House of the Dragon is the prequel to Game of Thrones, which premiered from 2011 to 2019. Based on Martin’s book Fire & Blood, the show, starring Emma D’Arcy, Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke, Ewan Mitchell, Fabien Frankel, and more, is set about 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones.

Ewan Mitchell
Ewan Mitchell in House of the Dragon | HBO

The highly anticipated second season of House of the Dragon premiered on June 16, 2024, with an episode titled ‘A Son for a Son’ and will conclude on August 4, 2024. The season, which has just three episodes out as of now, has received positive responses from critics as well as the audience. After his exceptional performance in episode 3, fans remembered Ewan Mitchell’s performance in the Claire Denis sci-fi horror movie that a lot of people might not know about.

Filmmaker Claire Denis talks about Ewan Mitchell’s character in High Life

Directed by Claire Denis, 2018’s science fiction horror movie High Life, starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche, follows the story of a group of criminals serving death sentences sent on a space mission towards Black Hole. At the same time, a scientist, for her experiments, treats the group of criminals as guinea pigs.

Ewan Mitchell, who plays Aemond Targaryen in House of the Dragon, played Ettore in the movie and has left a lasting impression on the audience to date. The actor in the movie plays a gray shade character as after observing the fellow crew member, Boyse, played by Mia Goth, violently s***ally a****lts her while she is bound to a bed.

Claire Tran’s character, Mink, stabs Ettore in the hallway while Robert Pattison who plays Monte take her away for medical assistance. This sequence in the movie, is known to be one of the most terrifying scenes and has managed stay with the viewers not only for its shocking and brutal turnout but also because it goes onto explore the human depravity.

Ewan Mitchell
Ewan Mitchell as Ettore in High Life | The Apocalypse Films

The criminals who are sent on a s**cide mission are practically isolated, and after a while are desperate to have a human connection which pushes their psychological limits. Ettore takes a different turn and tries to use the situation to his advantage by carrying out a horrifying act, revealing the chilling potential of human savagery. The act by Ettore also goes on to showcase the reality that women face.

The filmmaker, in her interview with DigBoston, was asked about Ewan Mitchell’s character, who most of the movie was seen observing people but eventually showcased a violent desire. To which she said,

There was not a very sophisticated thought about this character. His name was of Italian origin, and the young man I cast is really much more British, but he asked me to keep the name. The thing is that I wanted someone younger, near the age of the girls [Mia Goth] and not coming of age, but someone who’d have been coming of age as the ship was getting away from the solar system.

Ettore was also seen m*****bating in the movie, in which Denis describes that the machine [they had a small room for m*****bation as s***al contact was prohibited] can make him relaxed, but that does not mean that he’s satisfied. The filmmaker added that even though it’s a r**e and a violent act, there is no way to do it differently. Despite having a limited screen time Mitchell makes sure that Ettore is remembered by everyone who watches the movie. It also goes onto show that the actor is somewhat comfortable in portraying gray shade characters on-screen.

Ewan Mitchell says Aemond Targaryen ‘needs a bit of love’

In Episode 3 of House of the Dragon, the audience saw Aemond Targaryen cuddling naked with a prostitute following the funeral for young Prince Jaehaerys. Talking about his character, the actor shared with Variety,

He needs a bit of love. He’s a broken boy; he needs someone to fix him. Season 1 was a rich show full of morally compromised gray characters. I wanted to present a character who, in those three episodes, was in his life was just complete darkness.

Ewan Mitchell and Olivia Cooke
Ewan Mitchell and Olivia Cooke | HBO

The actor further said that someone asked him if his character had ‘mommy issues’. To which Mitchell replied that he does not know if Aemond Targaryen has mommy issues or if he just wants to be loved by his mom a little bit more. He explained that growing up, Aemond didn’t feel unconditional love from his mother Alicent Hightower played by Olivia Cooke and had to find it somewhere else.

Ewan Mitchell noted that Aemond Targaryen did find some comfort in his dragon Vhagr, but whether that is enough or not, is questionable. The director, Geeta Vasant Patel, also revealed to Variety that the actor was on board with the nude scene, adding that he knew his character so well that she was just listening to him and walking with him as they went through every episode. Patel appreciated the actor for being so honest and dedicated to the character he plays on screen.

House of the Dragon is streaming on HBO Max.

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