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)
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:
VOLTURE – If you thought Cinderella’s tiny glass slippers were hard to fill, try walking a mile in Prince Charming’s polished shoes. It’s not easy to play a character that’s practically the Ur-prince of all fairy tales — handsome, chivalrous, and the personified projection of romantic longing — but in Kenneth Branagh’s new live-action adaptation of Cinderella, Richard Madden proves himself up to the task. We got the Game of Thrones alum on the phone to discuss how he pulled off all of his princely dancing scenes, how he feels about the HBO series now that he’s been killed off, and why he’s so obsessed with Doctor Who.
You often take on projects like Game of Thrones and Klondike that put you through some arduous paces. Does something like Cinderella, then, feel like a vacation?
You know, I got this job while I was shooting Klondike, and I said, “This is great. I’m not going to be covered in blood or mud, or carrying things for hours!” But actually, it was just as hard as both of them, just in a very different way. I had to work on it for months to get the dance choreography down, and I was doing a lot of scenes on horseback. You think something’s going to be easy, and it never is — you end up putting the same amount of effort and time into it.
JUST JARED – Lily James and Richard Madden channel their inner Cinderella and Prince Charming in these new JustJared.com exclusive portrait session pictures.
The perfect pair star in the new live-action re-telling of the classic fairytale Cinderella, in theaters tomorrow! The movie is on track to have an amazing weekend at the box office, due in part to its stellar cast, which also includes Cate Blanchett, Helena Bonham Carter, and more.
Lily spoke about taking on the iconic role of Cinderella.
“Well obviously every girl wants to be a princess…the idea is just so magical. But on top of that, it’s a dream role because Cinderella is so special and kind and unique. Plus, we have a great opportunity to create a whole life beyond the fairytale, which is already so beautiful as it is, but making it richer and giving each character their own specific back stories,” Lily said. “And I liked the fact that Ken Branagh wanted to keep it light and magical, much like a fairytale.”
Richard commented on what he hopes audiences walk away with after seeing the film.
“I think the element of strength from unity is something audiences will definitely respond to. This is a story about two people coming together who actually bring out the best in one another, and from that love comes strength. Hopefully audiences will leave the theater understanding just how powerful love is,” Richard said. (source)
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.”