The Richard Madden interview for Cinderella took place at the luxurious Montage Beverly Hills. A hotel where loads of A-list celebrities stay to find their oasis in the craziness of Los Angeles. The hotel had a calm to it, a serenity and quietness that any busy celeb would come to appreciate after a long evening of publicity on the red carpet. From floor to ceiling, the hotel was styled in true old Hollywood vintage glam yet, it had a refined contemporary and modern feel. Still, I felt like I had arrived to Prince Charming’s castle. A perfect setting for the cast and filmmakers of Cinderella to be interviewed.
My first appreciation for Richard Madden began with Game of Thrones. Like the rest of the world, I fell in love with Robb Stark King of the North as I watched him fight for honor and family. And, like the rest of the world, he broke my heart when he was slaughtered during the infamous ‘Red Wedding’ but it wasn’t until his role in Klondike that I TRULY appreciated the talent that Richard possessed.
I was researching for my trip through California’s Gold Country when I decided to binge watch the Klondike mini-series. Richard delivered an unwavering performance as he played the role of a young dream-chasing miner in search of his fortune in one of North America’s most treacherous gold mining towns in history. And just like that I was hooked on this rising star. Blue eyes and sparkly smile in tow.
Richard Madden Interview
Getting the Role
Madden: I was kind of just overwhelmed. I was in Canada shooting a mini-series and I got like a text from my Agency. It was Branagh who’d called to text me, to play the part. I was just overwhelmed and really excited and then really terrified. I thought, “Oh God everyone’s gonna’ be like he’s wrong casting and how am I gonna’ do it? And this– and that’s not my idea of a Prince.
A lot of my Prince is based on Kenneth Branagh ‘cause he is like a true gentleman.
Working with Director Kenneth Branagh
Madden: I loved it. Everyday you’re on set with Kenneth Branagh, and Cate Blanchett, and Stellan Skarsgârd, and Helena Bonham Carter. It’s like kind of a master class in acting and also just how to conduct yourself as an Actor. Ken’s just amazing because the same amount of detail was put in something like this as it would be into something like MacBeth.
Ken really kind of inspires people. He brings out the best in me and that’s why we’re working together again in 2016 because we enjoyed working together.
How Richard Fashioned a Prince
Madden: I wanted to make him different. In animation you only see him in two or three scenes, and there’s this kind of old fashioned view of a woman needing a man to come and rescue her from a terrible life. That’s kind of outdated enough and, not a message I think we should be telling young girls. This version is not that, which is great. You’ve got a young man with all of his own problems and a young woman with hers and actually they bring the best out of each other.
I think she rescues him as much as he rescues her and that’s why I was really interested in this version.
We got to kind of see this real young man character and most importantly you know Cinderella is this wonderful amazing woman.
I wanted to make a man that was worthy of her affections.
From a King to a Prince
Madden: There are parallels between them I think. Robb Stark and the Prince. They’re both young men that have responsibilities on them that they’ve not asked for and, and they’re both young men that follow their hearts instead of their heads.
You know that Robb Stark does that in The Game Of Thrones and you know both of them are young men trying to kind of come into their own.
That’s what was so important about this. There’s ya oung man questioning what’s going on around him and questioning his father and actually being influenced by this other woman that’s come in with different ideas, knowing in his heart that that’s right. There’s not a lot of parallels after that between them. They’re both kind of very different men.
It’s just nice to play a character that someone’s trying to kill you or your whole family all the time.
Madden: The first scene that I show up with Lily in is us on horseback when we first meet in the woods. I like being outside and being on a horse, it’s more fun than being in the studio most of the time. That was our first day on set. That was the first day of shooting. That was the first time with Lily.
So you kind of have all of that going on on top of us kind of trying to play that scene. And I love what Ken wanted to do with that. These two huge beasts which they were both trying to control, and their feelings, and this kind of dance that they do on the horses.
Madden: It was miserable. I’m not a naturally gifted dancer. So I had to train for like two or three months like three or four times a week to get myself up to scratch. It was two months before they let me near Lily’s dress because I would just destroy it. I went through two practice dresses that looked like a bunch of cats had destroyed them. But yeah, I wanted to make it look as if he was enjoying it and also, that I could just act with Lily and not be thinking about what I’m doing with my feet.
Did You Cry?
Madden: Yeah the scene with Derek playing the King. That was a very emotional day, but a really good one. I love working with Derek. He is kind of an icon to me.
That was kind of a really moving scene. He plays it so beautifully it was hard not to get caught up in that.
It was important I think, how we see these two characters. I think first and foremost Cinderella is a daughter and the Prince is a son and they’re so influenced by their parents. I think that’s how we get to know them and get to know their personalities and what they’re like.
Behind the Scenes
Lily used to burp just all the time.
It’s ‘cause she had this corset on and couldn’t really eat anything. Especially when she was kind of first getting used to it. The food can only go so far and of course it actually means nothing else can go through. You could just see her face, like tears welling up and her burping and being like ‘please get the corset off now’. The funny bit was the girls having to go to the bathroom.
Personal Growth from Being Prince Charming
Characters like Robb Stark and the Prince have such strong moral compasses. You know they’re really good people and I find it kind of refreshing and it kinda’ reminds me how to be sometimes. You know you’re playing these people and they have really good hearts. So you know better now that you’ve played someone like that.
Especially with Lily, she had such a job on this you know. She had the weight of the movie on her shoulders and she’s a young Actress and it’s a massive piece.
That genuineness you couldn’t fake. She does it like ‘kill everything with kindness’ and she’s genuine and loving and, and caring. That’s kind of something that you try and take away from the film every day. You kind of go, “You know let’s find the best in this situation and let’s, let’s be as nice as we can.”
The Prince’s Costuming
Madden: I love Sandy Powell who designed these amazing costumes. And when I first met with her I was really keen to make sure that the Prince retained a masculinity ‘cause a lot of times in these Disney films they would not be very masculine.
She wanted that too and you know they are beautiful and detailed and, and gorgeous, but also they’re all rigid in practicality. All of them. I mean the boots I’m wearing are great for riding. You know the tight pants have a stretch in them, which is great for being on a horse. That first jacket I wear sets in a way that’s perfect for being on a horse and how it comes down. So they’re rooted in a practicality.
When I first saw the ballroom outfit I walk in and it’s like white with silver and sequins and glitter. And I’m like, “Sandy we talked about the masculinity.” We agreed on something and that’s just not it. Uh but actually once you put it on it does make me feel regal.
Game of Thrones Fans
Madden: I think It will be tough to have GOT fans follow. It’s not gonna’ be easy because you know there’s not a lot of guys who are gonna’ go to cinema and be like there’s the action movie or Cinderella? I got this part and my friends made fun of me and, and laughed about it for a long time. Then I brought these full grown men out to Berlin to the screening of Cinderella,
And they come out at the end of the film with like grins ear to ear and puffy eyes from crying. I was like, “Got you back. There you go.”
Being a Role Model as a Prince
I think a modern day Prince Charming has got to have a sense of humor, he’s got to be a gentleman, he’s got to have a compassion, an awareness of everyone around him and particularly her obviously.
I grew up with these Disney films and I have 2 sisters. I think that’s just where you first deal with your first things like death, and love, good and bad. That’s what I think.
I wanted, to try and make a Prince that young men would have to look up to– a Prince that you know has a built in respect for women uh and a compassion to the people around him, an awareness of his privilege.
Missed the Cinderella Trailer See it Now:
Disclaimer: Walt Disney Pictures sent me on an all expenses paid trip to Hollywood for the red carpet World Premiere of Cinderella where I attended press events and interviewed the cast and filmmakers.