Olivia Kate Cooke[1] (born 27 December 1993) is an English actress. From 2013 to 2017, she co-starred as Emma Decody in the A&E drama-thriller series Bates Motel. 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 Secondary School and studied drama at Oldham Sixth Form College, leaving before the end of her A-levels to star in Blackout.[3]

At a young age, Cooke practised 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]


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]


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 thriller 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]

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]



Year Title Role Notes
2014 Ruby's Skin Ruby Short film
The Quiet Ones Jane Harper
The Signal Haley Peterson
Ouija Laine Morris
2015 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Rachel Kushner
2016 The Limehouse Golem Lizzie Cree
Katie Says Goodbye Katie
2017 Thoroughbreds Amanda
2018 Ready Player One Samantha Cook / Art3mis
Life Itself Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2012 Blackout Meg Demoys 3 episodes
2012 The Secret of Crickley Hall Nancy Linnet 3 episodes
2013–2017 Bates Motel Emma Decody Main role; 44 episodes
2015 Axe Cop Loch Ness Monster Voice role; episode: "Night Mission: The Extincter"
2018 Vanity Fair Becky Sharp Upcoming miniseries

Music videos

Year Title Role Artist Notes
2012 "Autumn Term" Student One Direction From Up All Night: The Live Tour

Awards and nominations

Year Association Award Work Result Ref
2014 Eerie Horror Film Festival Awards Best Actress Ruby's Skin Won [35]
Screen International UK Stars of Tomorrow Herself Won [36]
2015 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actress The Quiet Ones 3rd Place [37]
San Diego Film Critics Society Best Supporting Actress Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Nominated [38]
Women's Image Network Awards Best Actress – Feature Film Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Nominated [39]
2016 Empire Awards Best Female Newcomer Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Nominated [40]
2017 Manchester Film Festival Festival Prize – Best Actress Katie Says Goodbye Won [41]
Newport Beach Film Festival Jury Award – Best Actress Katie Says Goodbye Won [42]


  1. ^ "Person Details for Olivia Kate Cooke, "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837–2008"". FamilySearch. Retrieved 6 December 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Brown, Emma. "Discovery: Olivia Cooke". Interview. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Secret's out: Olivia a rising star in UK and US". Oldham Evening Chronicle. 21 November 2012. Archived from the original on 21 August 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Latics' new safety officer". Oldham Athletic. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Barnard, Linda (8 June 2015). "Three questions for Thomas Mann, RJ Cyler, Olivia Cooke, stars of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl". Toronto Star. 
  6. ^ Pearlman, Cindy (23 April 2014). "'The Quiet Ones' star Olivia Cooke: 'I have no dignity anymore after this movie.'". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  7. ^ a b Rotunno, Anthony. "Meet Olivia Cooke, the Scary-Good Actress Set to Take Hollywood by Storm". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Particelli, Brian (25 April 2014). "'The Quiet Ones' Star Talks Ouiji Boards, 'Bates Motel' & Riding Harry Styles!". TooFab. Retrieved 19 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "'Blackout'". Art Thou Beguil'd Now? Chris Eccleston Bulletin. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  10. ^ Jeffery, Morgan (20 September 2012). "'Psycho' TV prequel 'Bates Motel' adds 'Blackout' star Olivia Cooke". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Meet the Cast: Olivia Cooke as Emma Decody". Bates Motel. AETV.com. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  12. ^ a b "Interview: Olivia Cooke". DIY Film. 9 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "The Quiet Ones World Premiere". The London Film Review. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c Radish, Christina. "Nicola Peltz and Olivia Cooke Talk BATES MOTEL, Their Characters, Their Familiarity with PSYCHO, and More". Collider.com. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  15. ^ O'Hare, Kate (8 April 2013). "'Bates Motel's' Olivia Cooke: 'I'm not sexy, so I'll go for Emma'". Zap2It. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "Bates Motel: Olivia Cooke Is Not American". A&E. YouTube. 7 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014. 
  17. ^ "Emma's Blog: My Life in Fast-Forward". Bates Motel. AETV.com. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  18. ^ "Sundance 2014: Park City at Midnight". Indiewire. 10 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Universal Dates Crimson Peak, Ouija, Pitch Perfect 2 and More!". ComingSoon.net. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  20. ^ Ford, Rebecca (11 December 2013). "Universal's 'Ouija' Adds 'The Fosters,' 'Red Widow' Actresses (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "Ouija (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  22. ^ "Ouija (2014)". Box Office Mojo. 
  23. ^ Sostek, Anya (2 June 2014). "'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' to start filming in East End". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  24. ^ Sneider, Jeff (12 March 2014). "'Bates Motel' Star Olivia Cooke in Talks for Lead in 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  25. ^ Busis, Hillary (25 July 2014). "'Bates Motel' actress Olivia Cooke debuts shaved head at Comic-Con". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  26. ^ Hipes, Patrick (10 March 2015). "Sundance Hit 'Me And Earl And The Dying Girl' Gets Summer Release – Update". Deadline.com. 
  27. ^ Kit, Borys (23 March 2015). "Olivia Cooke to Star in Indie Drama 'Katie Says Goodbye' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  28. ^ Jafaar, Ali (17 April 2015). "Alan Rickman, Olivia Cooke And Douglas Booth To Star In 'The Limehouse Golem'". Deadline.com. 
  29. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (27 April 2016). "Olivia Cooke, Anya Taylor-Joy & Anton Yelchin Set For Thriller 'Thoroughbred'". Deadline.com. 
  30. ^ Kroll, Justin (11 September 2015). "Steven Spielberg Casts Olivia Cooke as Female Lead in 'Ready Player One'". Variety. 
  31. ^ Busch, Anita (9 February 2016). "Warner Bros. Moves 'Ready Player One' Out Of 2017 & Away From Next 'Star Wars'". Deadline.com. 
  32. ^ Mia, Galuppo (31 January 2017). "Olivia Cooke, Samuel L. Jackson Join Oscar Isaac in Relationship Drama 'Life Itself'". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  33. ^ Mulkerrins, Jane (8 June 2015). "Olivia Cooke: 'Mysterious and quirky characters are more alluring'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 December 2015. 
  34. ^ "Bulgari - Save The Children Campaign Launch". Olivia Cooke Central. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  35. ^ "Eerie Horror Film Festival & Expo – 2014 Winners". Eerie Horror Film Festival. 
  36. ^ "Screen unveils 2014 UK Stars of Tomorrow". Screen Daily. 5 June 2014. 
  37. ^ Gingold, Michael (1 June 2015). "The 2015 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Winners and Full Results!". Fangoria. 
  38. ^ "2015 San Diego Film Critics Society's Award Nominations". San Diego Film Critics Society. 11 December 2015. 
  39. ^ "The WIN Awards – Women's Image Awards 2015 Nominees". Women's Image Network Awards. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  40. ^ "The 2015 Jameson Empire Awards". Empire. 18 February 2016. 
  41. ^ "The 2017 Manchester Film Festival Winners". Manchester Film Festival. 7 March 2017. 
  42. ^ "The 2017 Newport Beach Film Festival Winners". Newport Beach Film Festival. 28 April 2017. 

External links