THE GUARDIAN – Richard Madden can recall with clarity the moment he crossed the line with Idris Elba. The “odd couple”, as Madden describes himself and his Bastille Day co-star, were just days into the action film’s three-month shoot in Paris. The 29-year-old actor plays a pickpocket who becomes the unlikely partner-in-crime of a former CIA agent (enter Elba, giving the Bond audition of his life). They had been rehearsing for a car chase, and were preparing for the first take, when Madden decided to wind Elba up. “I turned to him and I said: ‘Are you going to do it like that on the take?’” Suddenly there was tension in the air. “I could see him thinking: ‘What the fuck’s this guy doing?’ It was great. At the end of the scene, he realised what I was doing and was like: ’You’re a fucker! You’re just trying to fuck me up!’” Madden laughs, then lets out a long breath. “He could have taken it the wrong way…”
The opening passage of Bastille Day, in which Elba’s agent chases Madden’s petty thief across Paris, sets a pace that doesn’t let up. But though the film serves up plenty of moments for Elba to showcase his action-man talents, it’s also an effective two-hander. The dynamic between the duo develops into something reminiscent of the odd action couples of old (in Lethal Weapon or 48 Hrs). When, on the verge of big shootout, Madden’s character asks Elba: “Can I have a gun?”, and gets a withering glower in return, it feels like Joe Pesci pestering Mel Gibson. Madden says that he improvised the line, and you can tell he’s proud it made the final cut.
Winding up Stringer Bell may be a bold move, but would you expect anything less from the King In The North? Madden’s turn as the ill-fated Robb Stark in Game Of Thrones ended with him being offed in the show’s most famous set-piece. Since then, his biggest roles has been playing the lusty gamekeeper in Jed Mercurio’s TV adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the more clean-cut prince in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella. But this year looks set to be bigger: as well as Bastille Day, he’s landed a key part in another big-budget TV drama, starring alongside Dustin Hoffman as Cosimo, the charismatic heir to the ruthless Medici clan in Medici: Masters Of Florence.
In person, Madden is more self-deprecating than self-assured. Our interview is littered with phrases such as “I’ll keep doing the things I don’t know if I’m good enough to do” or “It will probably slap me in the face at some point”. He confesses that, during the filming of Bastille Day (the release of which was postponed due to last November’s Paris attacks), he kept up his American accent even when off-set, not for reasons of method acting, but so that his colleagues could understand him. His Scottish accent is so broad, he says, that he often plays the American to get by “because even Siri doesn’t understand me! She doesn’t get a word I say. I’m like, ‘What time’s the next train?’ And Siri’s like: ‘Calling: ex-girlfriend.’” Fake accent he may have, but his face is still recognisable to ardent GoT fans. He gets stopped in the street a lot. I suggest he dress in disguise. “I’ve done that before,” Madden nods. “The problem is, you look like someone who is trying to be in disguise and it actually [looks] worse.” He describes the effect of this second-guessing over being recognised as “fucking with your head. You think: ‘I can’t order the fucking spaghetti because there’ll be a photo of me on the internet with tomato sauce down my face,’ and the next thing, no one’s recognised you at all.”
RADIO TIMES – Lady Chatterley’s Lover is the story that shocked a generation, sparking decades of controversy after its initial publication in 1928.
DH Lawrence’s tale of an illicit affair crossing social boundaries is making a return to our screens this weekend, with Game of Thrones star Richard Madden as groundskeeper Mellors.
It won’t, however, be dropping any jaws this time around, says Madden.
“I don’t think it can shock. From 12-years-old you can go on the internet and find anything you want so I don’t think there’s much to shock anyone anymore,” the 29-year-old says. “Hopefully this story is just going to bring a grit to these characters that is real and actually very moving, to see people struggling through life and despite all the odds trying to find beauty and hope.”
But it does go without saying that there will be scenes of a sexual nature that some people will find shocking…
“It’s not one for my mother I don’t think!” he laughs. “There’s not much nudity per say but she said, ‘Will there be noises?’ and I said, ‘There might be’, so she said, ‘Well, I’ll not watch it then.’”
For Madden, there is more to those intimate scenes than deep breaths and bared flesh. “It’s a connecting of two souls that are in lots of ways misplaced in this world. She’s misplaced in lots of ways, being part of that society and it not being right for her, and he’s misplaced in this world where he doesn’t feel like things should be the way they are.”
And much more to the relationship between Mellors and Lady Chatterley than just lust.
“You know when you’re really in love with someone and you have that great intimate relationship? It’s not just great sex or lust, it’s a real connection,” says Madden.
RADIO TIMES – Richard Madden takes on the role of gamekeeper Oliver Mellors in BBC1’s lush adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover yesterday night. The 29-year-old actor, who is best known for playing Robb Stark in hit fantasy series Game of Thrones, got into character by bedding down in a remote cottage during filming.
“I’m staying a 60-second walk from here,” he told RadioTimes.com, when we met him on set in rural Wales. “I’m not a method actor at all but I did quite like the idea of being in a cottage in the grounds of the house, which is what Mellors does. I kind of liked the isolation of that. And it’s a lovely cottage!” he added.
His rural location meant there was little socialising after the director called “cut” for the day – “I learn my lines and go to sleep!” – but the way of life suited the British star.
“I don’t like being at home when I’m shooting – I like being in different places.” (source)
THE SUNDAY TIMES – Why do men find it so hard to discuss their health? As a campaign launches to raise awareness of male cancers, the Game of Thrones actor Richard Madden talks to two survivors. Check the rest of the entry at the Sunday Times website!
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)