HARPER’S BAZAAR – Richard Madden has a theory behind why he’s perennially cast in period pieces.
“I think it’s the curly hair,” he says in his thick Scottish accent with a twinkle in his eye, a plan forming in his mind. “Maybe I’ll shave my hair off and I’ll start getting modern parts all the time…”
This focus on his hirsuteness isn’t totally without cause; he’s currently promoting his new film Cinderella, in which he plays the squeaky clean, clean-shaven Prince Kit, an experience which he says involved “being shaved twice a day” by an on-set barber. The results make the constant hair removal worth it – he looks far younger than his 28 years and a million miles away from the role that made him famous, Robb Stark in HBO’s hit TV series Game of Thrones.
Unlike his co-star Lily James, Madden had precious little to work with in terms of his character; in the animated version, he doesn’t even have a name. This meant he had to work with director Kenneth Branagh to come up with a three-dimensional man with a back-story of his own.
“I focused on making him a friend, soldier and above anything else a son – Cinderella is primarily a daughter and so the prince was primarily a son,” he explains. “So I focused on that relationship with Derek Jacobi as my dad and brought out all these other elements of his character.”
Indeed, working with Jacobi was one of the highlights for Madden (“I love him to pieces”), while the rest of the stellar cast also made an impression on him.
“It was like a master-class everyday on that set with Cate [Blanchett], Kenneth [Branagh], Derek [Jacobi], Stellan [Skarsgard] and Helena [Bonham Carter]. You understand why they’re movie stars. It’s not just their acting; it’s how they behave when the camera’s not rolling. Ken and Cate have a real compassion and awareness of everyone else around them. You’d think being as successful as they are that they’d be really insular and only concerned with themselves, but it’s the opposite, they’re concerned with everyone. I learned a lot from them.”
His relationship with his on-screen love interest James and director Branagh must be particularly good; he’s signed up to work with them both again in a stage production of Romeo and Juliet.
“I can’t wait to work with Ken again,” he says. “That was a big pro for me doing this job. As soon as we started working on Cinderella I thought ‘I just want to Shakespeare with him’; that’s his ballgame. I’m thrilled to be doing that with him. As for Lily, she hates me, I know she does, but I love her and I’m just waiting for her to get sick of working with me.”
I inform him that his Wikipedia page tells me he’s played Romeo on the stage before (“Oh well if it’s on Wikipedia it must be true,” he quips). What does he think he’ll bring to the role now he’s older and wiser?
“Seven years of life experience,” he remarks. “I’ve actually got a work ethic now, I know there’s a craft to it. I won’t just be running around impulsively like I did when I was younger.”
Before treading the boards we’ll see him following in his television father Sean Bean’s footsteps, playing Mellors in an upcoming adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, as well as playing an American pickpocket opposite Idris Elba in Bastille Day. Both of which meet the criteria for picking his next roles: they’re not royalty.
“I’ve played a lot of royals,” he admits. “I might slow down on the royalty for a little while…” (source)
USA TODAY – It’s hard to fill a prince’s shoes onscreen, but it’s even more difficult fleshing out the famed Prince Charming from the animated 1950 classic Cinderella.
The royal task for Kenneth Branagh’s live-action take fell on Scottish actor Richard Madden — whose royal Robb Stark was gruesomely dispatched in 2013’s “Red Wedding” Game of Thrones episode.
“This search really began and ended with Richard,” says producer Alli Shearmur. “We needed inner strength and emotional intelligence. It’s crucial, since in the original, Prince Charming didn’t even have a last name.”
Here are five keys to Madden’s Prince Charming:
01. Sense of humor: Madden knew that his prince would have to relax his subjects by wielding a disarming sense of humor, which also shows humility and kindness.
“People are going to be nervous to meet him, so he had to have the quality of putting people at ease,” says Madden. “And it shows he can make fun of himself.”
02. Horsemanship: In this version, Prince Charming meets his Cinderella on horseback while hunting — almost performing a dance while circling each other on their steeds.
Madden had riding experience from Game of Thrones, but stepped up the dressage work. He also assisted his less horse-skilled co-star Lily James (Cinderella) who had to ride her steed bareback without reins.
“There was acting there and there was actually trying to stop her horse,” says Madden. “I would go up beside her and yank the horse to a stop. I was literally doing that.”
It looks perfect onscreen, but Madden admits there are outtakes of his horse simply drifting out of the camera shot. And he noticed the crew looked nervous that the horses would bolt through the filming set up. But there were no mishaps.
“I’m lucky to get jobs where I get these amazing film horses that make me look much better than I am,” he charmingly admits.
03. Sword presence: As Game Of Thrones’ Robb Stark, Madden used his sword much more. But the warrior-poet Prince Charming has his sword on his side too.
“He’s a soldier back from the war. It was good to keep that element running through it,” says Madden. “Even if he never felt the need to use it.”
04. Tight pants: This Prince Charming kept the royal britches on the historically correct tight-side, requiring wardrobe specialists to ensure that it did not show too much for Disney’s young audiences.
“You get used to it. But you do feel exposed all the time,” says Madden. “I am not used to wearing such tight trousers.”
05. Dancing: The royal ball is everything in Cinderella. So Madden had to step up his waltz game with lessons four times a week for four months.
“It doesn’t come naturally to me,” says Madden. “It was a mistake to deliberately miss those classes in grammar school. I thought, ‘I’m not good at this so why bother?’ I regretted that the moment I was cast.”
Madden was not even allowed near Cinderella’s actual ball dress until he could prove his dancing skills.
“I went through two practice dresses before they let me near the real one, they wanted to make sure I wouldn’t completely destroy it,” he says. “And I wanted to get it down, so I could focus on my acting and not my feet.”
The work paid off. The waltzing screen smile is real.
“When it finally came down to finally doing the dance, it was actually quite enjoyable,” he says. Charming. (source)
THE NEW YORK POST – When Richard Madden told his buds that he’d be playing Prince Charming in “Cinderella,” they laughed in his face. “Endlessly. They could not stop, and they made fun of me about it for a long time,” Madden tells The Post. “Then I actually brought them to London to the first screening, and after the film, they all had smiles ear to ear and puffy eyes from crying. So I got the last laugh there.”
In theaters from last Friday, Madden stars as the leading man in the live-action revamp of the 1950 Disney animated classic “Cinderella.”
Hailing from Scotland, the 28-year-old actor, who is dating “Doctor Who” actress Jenna Coleman, is best known for another royal role — as Robb Stark on “Game of Thrones.” His time on the show came to a bloody end in 2013 thanks to the now-infamous “Red Wedding.”
“It was traumatic [because] it was a long week of shooting that scene, and those were all my friends and, like, family — these people that I’ve spent a lot of time with,” he says.
Though he says that trauma isn’t responsible for his running in the opposite direction toward the squeaky-clean Disney flick, he does admit to welcoming the differences.
“I’m not going to lie,” he says. “It’s nice to be in something with a happy ending for a change!”
But for Madden, filming the fairy tale wasn’t as easy as the waving of a wand. He trained for months in dressage for his horseback scenes with a horse that he says “didn’t want to like” him. Then there were his skintight white pants that made him feel self-conscious and exposed. But the real monster was the ballroom dancing.
“I’m not a naturally gifted dancer, so I had to train my feet four days a week for about two months to try and learn these dances,” he says. “I had to do that before they let me near Cinderella’s dress so I didn’t destroy it with my feet. I destroyed two practice dresses completely,” he says.
Madden will next star in a West End production of “Romeo and Juliet” with his Cinderella, Lily James. He’s also shot the Paris-set thriller “Bastille Day” alongside Idris Elba. Now, he’d like to do a movie on a spaceship — or just anything but more dancing. (source)
FLAUNT MAGAZINE – If Richard Madden weren’t acting, he’d be a “shy, fat kid living in Scotland with no girlfriend,” he tells me. Far from Prince Charming, who the 28-year-old actor plays in Disney’s upcoming remake of Cinderella.
I find Madden sitting in the corner of Tiny’s & the Bar Upstairs, bundled in an overcoat and a turtleneck, drinking Kentucky Bourbon Ale on this bitter New York afternoon. He’s handsome and his Scottish accent is as thick and alluring as one might hope it to be (he pronounces “Great Dane” with a rolling R). For someone experienced in playing the role of a king and a prince, he is remarkably laid-back, modest, and almost bashful. He plays with his hands while speaking, and he lights up whenever I ask about Game of Thrones, in which he starred as Robb Stark, King in the North. He first joined youth theatre as a kid to overcome shyness and, in the process, discovered his passion. Today, with credits in theatre, film, and television, he seems to be constantly working.
“I think I’ve had nine different permanent residences in the past year,” he says.
Check the beautiful photoshoot Richard did for Flaunt Magazine in our gallery:
VANITY FAIR – If Cinderella’s Richard Madden (formerly known as Game of Thrones’s Robb Stark) could choose between a direwolf and a fairy godmother, what would he pick? Direwolf, hands down. “It’s a massive, giant bear wolf. Why wouldn’t I want that?” So he wouldn’t be swayed by being able to wish for whatever you wanted? Not at all. “That’s good, but the direwolf would stay around a bit longer.”
Both Madden and his co-star Lily James were at Saks Fifth Avenue yesterday, celebrating the department store’s collaboration with Disney on a Cinderella-inspired shoe collection, which features dazzling work from Jimmy Choo, Nicholas Kirkwood, Charlotte Olympia, Salvatore Ferragamo, and more. (James and Madden are also in Saks’s spring catalog cover models). It was a landmark day for Saks Fifth Avenue, said Chief Marketing and Creative Officer Mark Briggs, “for the collaboration with the shoe designers, which I think have excelled in beautiful, beautiful designs.”
James had a strategic approach for what she would ask from her fairy godmother. “I would wish for 100 more wishes,” she told us, laughing. What would one of those wishes be? “I want every single one of these shoes,” she said, eyeing a particularly bedazzled pair of Jimmy Choos.
Cinderella, which opens March 13, is being heralded for a modern take on the centuries-old fairy tale, without sacrificing its traditional roots. James has no problem playing rebellious ladies—her character on Downton Abbey, Lady Rose, flouts societal norms left and right. She certainly wasn’t interested in making Ella seem like a pushover. “I wanted her to be a strong character. I wanted her to have beauty that radiated from within,” she said. “Just because she doesn’t have a sword or she’s not openly strong in that way, physically, she’s just as inspirational.” Does she see any similarities between Lady Rose and Ella? “I think they are both free spirits and they’ve both got big hearts.”
Madden knew his Prince Charming had to keep up with James’s portrayal. “I wanted to bring an equality to it,” he said of playing Prince Charming. “I wanted to make Cinderella and the prince equals and try to make a man that was worthy of the affections of someone like Cinderella.”