I found a YouTube clip of you in your first movie, Complicity—it is heavy subject matter!
I’ve not seen that in years. That was my first role—I was 11. I play a boy who gets raped. My mother has a great picture of me lying on the ground in between takes with this massive man on top of me. That was a kind of baptism by fire into the world of pretending.
So, the Red Wedding in Game of Thrones. Did it leave the set completely covered in fake blood?
It was carnage. I was also wearing this tunic with a hose that came up from my ankle to my chest and when I got stabbed, the blood was supposed to burst out of me. But during the first take the hole was misaligned so I got a few liters of blood inside my costume. And that stuff dyes your skin!
Was it a grueling scene to act?
It took five days and every one was torturous. The last day of shooting was also the last shoot of season 3, so literally at the end of that day I was finished with Game of Thrones. At that point I’d been with the same crew for five years. I saw my onscreen mother more than my actual mother. It was really emotional.
What were things like behind the scenes?
Most of the time we were filming in really miserable, cold locations, and the subject matter is not particularly upbeat. There were funny moments, though. You’ve got a bunch of men all trying to be very manly and tough and then, as soon as they’d shout cut, everyone would drop to the ground and lie down because the costumes were so heavy. A lot of jokes also ended up being directed toward Kit [Harrington], after he broke his ankle, drunk one night. So you had Jon Snow in a massive leg cast. We’d be in these woods that were muddy and a mess and two people would have to carry Kit onto set and prop him up on one leg beside me. We’d go through a scene. Then, cut, and he’d have to get carried off again to the next set.
There’s a lot of pretty elaborate dancing.
Oh, god. We had three proper dance sequences within that ball scene. I was dancing three days a week just rehearsing and rehearsing, so that when we got to shooting the scene I wouldn’t have that look of fear on my face.
Cinderella’s dress is so big!
It is humungous. You have no idea. During rehearsals we went through quite a few copy dresses. I spilled coffee on one. And poor Lily. I couldn’t complain about having to trip over it, because she was the one having to carry it.
There’s also that scene where she’s on a swing and you reach in and grab her foot. Was it hard to find it under all that dress?
I think we made it look elegant on the day, but in reality there were like 80 layers to get through. I was terrified the swing was going to come forward and I would be engulfed by a dress and suffocated beneath it.
The scans of the March issue of Elle USA featuring Richard has been added in the gallery as well!
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!