Richard Madden on going to extreme lengths during filming and watching Game of Thrones without the danger of being killed off
You come from Elderslie, a town between Glasgow and Paisley. Since Game of Thrones you’ve probably become the most famous son after William Wallace. Can you beat him?
My next challenge! But how can I be more famous than Mel Gibson?
The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones shocked the world. As an actor, did you feel a sense of achievement?
Most important was how we managed to keep it such a surprise. It’s in the book, it’s on the internet and so many people didn’t know it was going to happen.
Are you looking forward to watching series four not having to worry about who’s out to kill you?
I could not be more excited. When you’re in it, you read the scripts so many times, you know what’s going to happen inside out. I’ve got the joy of just being a viewer this time.
Are there any similarities between Game of Thrones and your new show Klondike?
It’s a story of your humanity and morality, how you survive when stakes couldn’t be higher and everything is life and death all day everyday.
It’s set during the Gold Rush?
On paper it’s about two guys that go up to the Yukon during the Gold Rush to make their fortune in 1897. It’s just a really great drama focusing on human beings in extreme situations.
Did you get in any extreme situations while filming?
I probably nearly died a couple of times. I did all my own stunts, threw myself into category four river rapids, got frostbite on my face. That hurt.
What’s the cure for frostbite on your face?
Lotions and potions. Filming Game of Thrones seemed tropical by the end of Klondike.
The character you play, Bill Haskell, was a real person. What did you find out about him?
I found out a lot about his strength. You had to be a warrior just to get to where they went. He was a man who never took the easy option. When there’s murder and greed and violence, at the point where anyone of us would become an animal and stab someone in the back or slit a man’s throat to save yours, there was that beautiful bit of humanity.
It’s like you’re describing modern day Paisley.
Exactly that. You don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Next up for you is Disney’s live action Cinderella. Prince Charming no less…
He’s a character that everyone has a conception of but what do we know about him? I’m trying to make him true and honest within a fairytale context. I need to pull my weight – there are some big players in that film: Derek Jacobi, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett plays the evil stepmother.
A slightly better cast than your average pantomime.
Although that’s what I thought it was when I got it through on my email, a panto in Poole then I realised, actually Kenneth Branagh is directing. Oh right, ok. I’ll read it then.
Showbiz Tonight just went one-on-one with the former “Game of Thrones” actor Richard Madden, and he revealed to Showbiz Tonight that he hasn’t watched the famous scene when his character Robb Stark, his pregnant wife and mother were all massacred at what has become known in TV history as the ‘Red Wedding’ scene.
Richard Madden just told Showbiz Tonight’s A.J. Hammer about watching the scene again, “It just destroys me. I haven’t watched it since aired and it was crushing actually.” Madden is now starring as Bill Haskell in the gold rush show, “Klondike,” which kicks off on the Discover network January 20th.
What would YOU ask Richard Madden, star of #Klondike? The Game of Thrones star will be chatting LIVE tomorrow on Discovery’s page at 12:30pm EST for an exclusive Facebook Q&A. Don’t miss it!
“I didn’t sleep properly last night,” says Richard Madden, drinking a pint at his local. “I’m thinking it’s because I knew I was going to have to talk about this.”
“This” is an event that concerns Madden’s character in the HBO series Game of Thrones. If you’re not fully up to date with the show, scram. This is your spoiler alert. In an episode watched by half a million UK viewers on Sky Atlantic in June, Madden was killed off savagely and with so little warning that some (honestly, there’s video proof) leapt off their sofas.
In the aftermath Twitter went all capitalised and intense. US talkshow host Conan O’Brien called it “the most stunning thing any of us have seen in television. Maybe ever”. Madden, months later, says he’s still approached by the traumatised. “Just yesterday a guy came up to me, crushed. He asked, ‘Why would someone do this?'”
It’s a question, really, for George RR Martin, the American author whose novels have been adapted by HBO. Martin’s fiction takes place in a cruel, medieval-like world, where murder is commonplace. The author seems to revel in it, killing off popular, morally spotless characters knowing his readers (with their soppy, modern notions of fairness) won’t see it coming.
What it all means for those cast in the TV version is that when new episodes are hacked out of Martin’s long books, and scripts are distributed, “you get a lot of terrified actors,” says Madden, “tearing through the pages going ‘Do I die? Do I die?!'”
Madden, 27, who grew up in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, 15 miles from Glasgow, knew his character was doomed from the outset. He had worked in theatre (Romeo at the Globe) before being cast as Thrones’ youthful lordling, Robb Stark, in 2009. Senior producers admitted to Madden, early, that they couldn’t wait to get to the filming of his slaying. And on his first day on set, crew and cast approached, asking, “My God, do you know how you’re going to die?”
He managed to stay ignorant of the details for a few years. “I made a deliberate effort not to read ahead.” Madden’s girlfriend is the Doctor Who actor Jenna Coleman, so theirs is a household well practised in spoiler containment. One night, though, Madden risked a Google search …