Carice van Houten: How She Went From Game Of Thrones To Sex Trafficking

By Ross Bonaime | 9 months ago

Carice van Houten

While most people probably know Carice van Houten from her role as Melisandre on Game of Thrones from 2012-2019, van Houten has a rich filmography, full of work from both her native Netherlands and the United States.

But since Game of Thrones ended, what has Carice van Houten been up to? Let’s take a look at where she came from and what she’s doing now.

Dutch Beginnings

Black Book

Carice van Houten was born in Leiderdorp, Netherlands on September 5, 1976. In high school, Van Houten played her first leading role in Hugo Claus’ play, Tiji Uolenspieghel. After high school, she would study for a short time at the Maastricht Academy of Dramatic Arts and the Kleinkunstacademie in Amsterdam.

Carice Van Houten’s first lead role on the screen was in the television film Suzy Q. The film would play at the Netherlands Film Festival, where it would be nominated for their Golden Calf award, but Carice would win an award for Best Actress in a TV Drama. She would once again win a Golden Calf, this time for Best Actress, for her 2002 film Undercover Kitty. In 2005, she would once again receive a nomination for Best Actress in Zwarte zwanen.

Carice van Houten
Black Book

In 2006, Carice van Houten would star in Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book. At the time, with a budget of 16 million euros, Black Book was the most expensive film in Dutch history, but it would also go on to become the country’s most commercially successful film as well. Black Book would win three Golden Calves, awarding it Best Film, Best Director of a Feature Film and Van Houten another award for Best Actress. Black Book was nominated for a BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language, and was the Netherland’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in 2007. In a 2008 poll, only two years after its release, the Dutch people would name Black Book the best Dutch film ever made.

Carice Van Houten would continue to receive critical acclaim for several other Dutch productions, including winning the Golden Calf for Best Actress in 2010’s Stricken, 2011’s The Happy Housewife, and 2012’s Black Butterflies.

Carice van Houten In America

Carice Van Houten’s first American work was in the small 2001 film, AmnesiA, but by the end of the 2000s, she would appear in a pair of major 2008 films:  Tom Cruise’s film, Valkyrie and Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies, although she was cut from the latter film.

The Fifth Estate
The Fifth Estate

Since then, Carice Van Houten has appeared in such notable films as 2010’s Repo Men, alongside Jude Law and Forest Whitaker, the Julian Assange film, The Fifth Estate in 2013 and Race, where she would play Triumph of the Will director Leni Riefenstahl.

Carice van Houten on Game of Thrones

Carice van Houten in Game of Thrones

Carice van Houten would join the cast of Game of Thrones in its second season at Melisandre. She would play the role until the final season.

For her performance in her final episode, the actress received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series. She was nominated despite HBO not submitting her for voting consideration. Carice van Houten, alongside co-stars Alfie Allen and Gwendoline Christie, all self-submitted their name for consideration and paid the fees to appear on the ballot, and all three received nominations.

Melisandre on Game of Thrones

The Melisandre actress would also receive Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series for her work on Game of Thrones, receiving nominations in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

After making her Game of Thrones debut in 2011, Carice van Houten made a few other notable television appearances. In 2015, she appeared on The Simpsons as Annika van Houten, Milhouse’s cousin from the Netherlands. In 2016, she would also play Melisandre – amongst other characters – on an episode of Robot Chicken.

Writing And Singing

In 2012, Carice van Houten released her debut album in the Netherlands, entitled “See You On The Ice.” She had previously recorded her own vocals for songs in Black Book and recently worked with Mercury Rev.

Carice van Houten album
The album See You On The Ice

In 2013, the Game of Thrones actress published a book with her Black Book and Valkyrie co-star and friend Halina Reijn. The book, Anti Glamour, was a parody of style guides and also explored their friendship and look at their lives when they are not in front of the camera.

Carice van Houten Now

Carice van Houten now

Now 44-years-old Carice van Houten has been in a relationship with Memento star Guy Pearce since 2015 and on August 2016, the couple had their first child together.

Soon after her final appearance on Game of Thrones, Carice van Houten would star alongside Mark Strong and Daniel Mays in the series Temple, based on the Norwegian show, Valkyrien. The show made its premiere in March of this year on Spectrum. The series follows Mark Strong’s Daniel, a surgeon who runs an illegal medical clinic to help patients who refuse help from usual medical facilities.

Scene from Temple

In 2019, Carice Van Houten would appear in three films: the Czech Republic drama, The Glass Room, the Brian De Palma-directed Domino, which reunited Van Houten with her Game of Thrones co-star, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Instinct, directed by Van Houten’s friend Halina Reijn, and was the Netherland’s submission for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards.

Carice Van Houten has already had quite an active 2020. In September, she appeared in the Alexandra Daddario film, Lost Girls & Love Hotels. Van Houten is also once again reuniting with Halina Reijn as creative producers for Red Light, which will air on Dutch television this year. Red Light is about three women within the worlds of prostitution and sex trafficking.

Lost Girls
Scene from Lost Girls and Love Hotels

With a career that spans critically acclaimed acting roles, a history with music, and now, a look at creating her own shows, it seems as though Carice Van Houten has a lot to offer in the future.