, a romantic drama premiering June 3rd, is led by Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin, who both play prominent characters in the major franchises Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games. And a closer look at the cast reveals that we know nearly everyone in this movie from their appearances in well-loved phenomenons. So who exactly is leaving the likes of Hogwarts, Panem, and Westeros for a little village in England?
Emilia Clarke stars as Louisa, a small-town girl who winds up working as a caretaker for a quadriplegic man in her village. We’re all familiar with Clarke’s iconic Game of Thrones character, the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen. Joyful, quirky, quaint Louisa is a massive departure from the queen and conquerer Clarke plays on the big screen and it’ll be fun to see her play that contrast. It’s been too long since she’s had more to do than deliver strong lines with a deadpan expression.
Sam Claflin is best known for his role as Finnick, the charismatic victor with surprising depth in the Hunger Games movies. Here he plays Will Traynor, an active and successful man who loses the loss of his legs and most of his arms in an accident. When Louisa meets Will, he is grappling with the reality of his confined life and is bitter, biting, and sarcastic. It’s easy to imagine Sam transferring Finnick’s ability to conceal pain with charm to this role.
In his most high-profile role since his climactic moment as Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Matthew Lewis plays Patrick, Louisa’s boyfriend. This role marks Lewis leaning into his late-bloomer heartthrob status, as Patrick is super fit and obsessed with his training regime. Seeing Lewis as the hyper confident and slightly oblivious Patrick will be an entertaining contrast to the bumbling and self-conscious Neville that he played for so long.
Charles Dance’s Tywin Lannister was one of Game of Thrones‘s most ruthless and calculating characters and now, instead of heading up one of the families that drove Dany out of Westeros, he’s heading up the family employing her. Charles Dance plays Will’s father, Steven, the more distant of the Traynor parents. Though, as far as withholding parents go, Steven Traynor is certainly no match for Tywin Lannister.
Louisa’s brainy younger sister, Katrina, is played by Jenna Coleman, of Doctor Who fame. Treena’s life, put on hold by an unplanned pregnancy, isn’t quite as exciting as Clara Oswald’s adventure through time and space with the Doctor. However, Coleman will no doubt bring the same bright charm to this role as she does in the classic British sci-fi series.
John Bates, the faithful valet on the ITV phenomenon Downton Abbey played by Brendan Coyle, serves the Crawley family with dignity, despite his many tragic misfortunes. The casting of Coyle as Louisa’s dad, Bernard Clark, as well as his line of fatherly wisdom in the trailer, implies that the character will have more of a quiet gravitas than in the book. The novel paints Bernard as a sweet, teasing father, never without a beer in hand. Despite his glass-half-full attitude, he’s wrestling with being unemployed and unable to support his family financially. It remains to be seen if Coyle will bring a more sage and demure Bates-ness to the character.
Samantha Spiro only debuted on Game of Thrones this week, playing Samwell Tarly’s mother. She joins fellow Westerosi Clarke and Dance in Me Before You, playing Louisa’s mother. Bustling and nurturing, Josie is constantly trying to look after everyone. She’s poorer and more service-oriented, but otherwise similar in maternal warmth to Lady Tarly.
Janet McTeer, who plays Will’s mother Camilla in the film, also appeared as Tris’s ancestor, Edith, in Insurgent. Camilla is posh, cold, and overbearing, but, understandably so, as she is desperately trying to manage her son’s debilitating condition.
Even the minor characters come from famous fandoms. Ben Lloyd Hughes plays Rupert, a former colleague of Will’s in Me Before You, and a character called Will in Insurgent.
This means when Me Before You premieres June 3rd, we can see the Mother of Dragons fall for a Hunger Games tribute, in the company of Tywin Lannister, Neville Longbottom, the Doctor’s companion, Mr. Bates, and a couple of faction-ers.
If it’s anything like Jojo Moyes’s book, which the word-for-word dialogue in the trailers suggests it will be, Me Before You could transcend the average sappy summer romance story. Hopefully our cast of fandom favorites can pull it off!