I have to be honest with you all. One of the interviews I was most excited about was the interview with Prince Charming himself Richard Madden. As a Game of Thrones Fan I couldn’t wait for some interview time with The King of The North. What I wasn’t prepared for was how incredibly nice, and gracious he would be. Most important what a gentleman in all his responses.
Although two of his best known roles are that of royalty it’s always impressive to meet someone who has those chivalrous characteristics that embody both of those characters.
So how did you get involved in the process of playing a Prince?
I wanted to make him different. In the animation you only see him in 2 or 3 scenes and there’s this kind of old fashioned view I think of you know a woman needing a man to come and rescue her from a terrible life and that’s kind of outdated enough.
Not a message I think we should be telling young girls and in this version it’s not the message, which is great. You’ve got a, a young man with all of his own problems and a young woman with hers and actually they, 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, in this version. We got to kind of see this real young man character and most importantly you know Cinderella’s this wonderful amazing woman. I wanted to make a man that was worthy of her affections.
What was your favorite scene?
The first scene that I show up with Lil,in which we’re on horseback & first meet in the woods. I kind of like being outside and being on a horse. It’s more fun than being in the studio most of the time. That was also our first day on set. That was the first day of shooting. That was the first time with, with Lily. So you kind of have all, all of that going on on top of us kind of trying to play that scene. I love that Ken wanted to do that with these 2 huge beasts. They were both trying to control their feelings and then there’s this kind of dance that they do on the horses.
How hard was it to learn the dance routine?
It was miserable.I’m not a naturally gifted dancer. So I had to kind of train for like 2 or 3 months to like 3 or 4 times a week to get myself up to
scratch. Then there was 2 months before they let me near Lily’s dress and because I would just destroy it. I went through like 2 practice dresses that looked like a bunch of cats have destroyed them and I wanted to make sure that it looked like the Prince would enjoy dancing. So 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.
Were there any scenes that made you cry?
Yeah the scene with Derek ,playing the King.That was a very emotional day,but a really good one. I love working with Derek. That was kind of a really moving scene. He plays it so beautifully it was hard not to get caught up in that. I had chats with Ken at the start and we wanted, it was important I think how we see these two characters. You know I think first and foremost Cinderella’s a daughter and the Prince is a son and they’re so influenced by their parents. And I think that’s how we get to know them and get to know their personalities and what they’re like. They really wanted to get that relationship going. I wanted to have a sense of humor to this Prince. And, and for them to kind of be influenced by each other.
You’ve gone from a King, to a minor, to a Prince. Was this a little bit of a softer role for you from what you’re used to? If so how do you think those prepared you for this? Thankfully the The wedding’s much different though (In Reference to the Game of Thrones Red Wedding)
Don’t know ,because 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 so important about this ,that young 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. But then they’re both kind of very different men and I mean and I mean it’s nice to, to play a character where someone’s trying to kill you or your whole family all the time.
For, for the modern day woman dating today what would you, what would you tell them a Prince Charming is?
I don’t know. I think he’s got to have a sense of humor, he’s got to be a gentleman, and he’s got to have a compassion, an awareness of everyone around him and particularly her obviously.
What did you learn about yourself by playing this role?
I kinda’ liked it to try and– I mean I played characters like Robb Stark star and like the Prince. They have such strong moral compasses. You know they’re really good people and I kind of like ta’– uh it’s refreshing and it kinda’ reminds me how to, to be sometimes because you know you’re playing these people and, and they have really good hearts. So you know it’s like you know better now that you’ve played someone like that. And especially with like Lily and you know her– 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. And that genuineness you couldn’t because she does it like kill everything with kindness and she’s genuine and loving and, and caring. And 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.”
We talked a lot about Cinderella’s outfits during the movie, but yours were also pretty interesting and, and intricate in many ways. What was your thought process when you were first introduced to some of the outfits you had to wear? Because they’re not something you usually wear.
No, they’re not and they’re lots of leggings. Well it was a really good actually. 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 with these costumes because a lot of times in these Disney films they would not be very masculine & they’re really decadent and extravagant, but actually Sandy wanted that too and you know they are beautiful and detailed 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. You know the jacket sets in a way that’s perfect for being on a horse and how it comes down. So they’re rooted in a practicality. I mean when I first saw the ballroom outfit uh and I walk in and it’s like white with silver and sequins and glitter, I’m like, “Sandy we talked about the masculinity.” We agreed on something and that’s just not it. But actually once you put it on it does make me feel regal. And you know you put them into the sets and with all the other characters and it doesn’t feel out of place. You know when you’re in a little studio room you know trying on these costumes you’re like, “How am I gonna’ pull this off?” And then you kinda’ get on the set and suddenly it feels completely natural. It’s actually empowering.
We talked to Lily and she said that she had several wardrobe malfunctions with you ripping her dress dancing. Did you have any issues with yours?
Um yeah a lot of– just a lot of self-consciousness you know. You’re in those trousers and you’re like kind of skirting the wall because if you really exposed you wanna’ to cover your butt up and then– Oh I know! And turn the other way and cover that up and [UHHH] but you get used to it eventually.
What was your initial reaction when you found out you got the role as the Prince
I was kind of just overwhelmed. I was in Canada shooting a mini-series and I just got like a text from my Agency right before. That Branagh had called to tell me he wanted to play the part. And I was just overwhelmed but really excited and then just really terrified after that of like, “Oh God everyone’s gonna’ be like he’s wrong casting and how am I gonna’ do it? And that’s not my idea of a Prince.But I just went back to the original animation and when actually somebody got 2 or 3 scenes we don’t get to know his name. I can build a character from scratch and I can do that with, with Branagh gazing at me There’s no one better to kind of take me through that then him. He is a lot like what my Prince is based on ,Kenneth Branagh is a true gentleman.
How did you like working with Kenneth Branagh?
I loved it. Everyday it’s like you’re on set with Kenneth Branagh, and Cate Blanchett, and Stellan Skarsgârd, and Helen Bonham Carter.
It’s like kind of a master class and in acting and also just in like 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. You know I’d be on set and he’d kind of just come up and give me a talk. I think the Prince would really do anything that.He gives you so much ammunition so I can go into these scenes with Derek and we can improvise. Then we can really play because you’ve got so much going on Ken really kind of inspires you. And that’s why you know it brings out the best in me and that’s why we’re working together again in 2016 because we enjoyed working together.
How does it feel to be a role model for young men?
Well the Prince is the role model not me. I grew up with these Disney films and I have 2 sisters.So we watch these films and I think that’s just where you first deal with first thing came to death and love and good and bad, and that’s what I really wanted to do with this Prince.I wanted to make someone, as I said at the start, that’s not that old fashioned in having the view of you know a girl needing a guy. I wanted to, 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, compassion to the people around him, an awareness of his privilege. And so if there’s little boys that,that grow up and are inspired by that then I’ll be really honored.
Don’t forget to check Richard Madden out in Cinderella, now playing in theaters.