The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness: Richard Madden on Being the Prince! #CinderellaEvent
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Richard Madden on Being the Prince! #CinderellaEvent

Disclosure: I attended the #CinderellaEvent and my expenses: flight, accommodations, transportation and some meals were covered by Disney. All opinions, however, are 100% mine.

Once you get past his blue eyes, Richard Madden is a sweet and funny guy. He came off so nice and humble by his success. His comment that being on set with Kenneth Branagh, Cate Blanchett, Derek Jacobi, Stellan Skarsgârd, and Helen Bonham Carter was like a Master Class in acting said it all.

He made the perfect Prince. He is so handsome but he also was able to make the Price a real person. You root for him. You fall a little in love with him. You want him and Cinderella to be together. In our interview he talks about getting the role, his co-star Lily James, Game of Thrones and weddings. Yes, weddings.

Q: So how did you get involved in the process of playing a Prince?

Richard Madden (RM):  I wanted to make him different. And in the animation you only see him in 2 or 3 scenes. Also in the original animation 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fashioned view I think of you know a woman needing a man to come and rescue her from a terrible life and that’s kind of outdated enough.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. You've got a young man with all of his own problems and a young woman with hers and 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 that I wanted to make a man that was worthy of her affections.

Q: What was your favorite scene?

RM: The first scene that I show up with Lil which 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. But it’s just like you know that was our first day on set. That was the first day of shooting. That was the first time with Lily.

Q: How hard was it to learn the dance routine?

RM: It was miserable. I’m not a naturally gifted dancer. 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 so that. I mean 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.

I think 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.

Q: Were there any scenes that made you cry?

RM: Yeah the scene with Derek playing the King. That was a very emotional day but a really good one. I love, I love working with Derek. And that was kind of a really moving scene. He plays it so beautifully it was hard not to get caught up in that.

Q: For that scene you were almost like in a fetal position with him and that was just so touching and it just like breaks your heart. It was kind of when Cinderella was with her father. So was that kind of directed that way?

RM: Yeah it was directed that way, but I think 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.

And they really wanted to kind of you know get that relationship going. I really wanted to have a sense of humor to this Prince. And, and Derek plays the King so well with that kind of sense of humor. I wanted the Prince to have that and, and for them to kind of be influenced by each other.

Q: You've gone from a King, to a minor, to a Prince.

RM: Yeah.

Q: If this was a little bit of a softer role for you from what you're used to.

RM: Yeah.

Q: But how do you think those prepared you for this?

RM: Sword fighting, all that stuff.

Q: The wedding’s much different though.

RM: Different, yes. A lot different.

Q: How did you prepare for [the role]?

RM: I don't know because there is 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 um important about this was you know 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 and, and 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 and I mean it’s nice to play a character where someone’s [not] trying to kill you or your whole family all the time.

Q: Were there any like behind the scenes things? Like something fun that would happen behind the scenes or any stories that you have that you can tell us?

RM: Lily used to burp just all the time. It’s because she’s got this corset on and she can’t really eat anything and especially when she was kind of first getting used to it.

And she’s kind of over eager and like just to eat a sandwich or something and for an hour because she'd be fine. And then the food can only go so far and of course it actually means nothing else can go through.

And then you could just see her face like tears welling up and her like burping and be like please get the corset off now. The funny bit was the girls that had to go to the bathroom.

Q: For, for the modern day woman dating today what would you, what would you tell them a Prince Charming is?

RM: 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.

Q: I wanted to know have you ever had a crush on any of the ladies you've [worked with]?

RM: I've not really. I always think that’s quite funny because you always think I'm going to be really close with someone. You're going to build a relationship up and you know you spend most of the day being in love with someone. You spend more time being in love with them than not being in love with them. But actually, no, I've never kind of had that with a leading Actress.

I think that’s probably going to just really confuse things. And what’s good about me and Lily is you know we're really good friends. I still see her like on a weekly basis. We were both in the same situation you know. This is like our first big movie and we're kind of terrified and it’s big characters that lots of people have owned before us. So we wanted to play them right. So then we kind of just cling to each other like that. That kind of helped our chemistry.

Q: What did you learn about yourself by playing this role?

RM: I played characters like Robb Stark and like the Prince. They have such strong moral compasses. You know they're really good people and it’s refreshing and it kind of 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 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.

Q: 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.

RM: 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 and they're really decadent and extravagant.

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, the, 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 and 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. But actually once you put it on it does make me feel regal.

And you know you put them into those 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 kind of get on the set and suddenly it feels completely natural. It’s actually empowering.

Q: We talked to Lily and she said that uh she had several wardrobe malfunctions you know with you ripping her dress. Did you have any issues with yours?

RM: 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 want to cover your butt up. And turn the other way and cover that up and but you get used to it eventually.

Q : What was your initial reaction when you found out you got the role as the Prince?

RM: I was kind of just overwhelmed. I was in Canada shooting a mini-series. It was Branagh who’d called to play the part.

And I was like just overwhelmed and really excited and then just really terrified after that of like, “Oh God everyone’s going to be like he’s wrong casting and how am I going to do it?

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 Branagh. There’s no one better to kind of take me through that then him that than him. A lot of my Prince is based on, on Kenneth Branagh ‘cause he is like a true gentleman.

Q: How did you like working with him?

RM: 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 and as well. But Ken is just amazing because the same amount of detail was put in something like this as it would be into something like MacBeth.

We can really play because you've got so much going on Ken really kind of inspires you. And that’s why you know um it brings out the best in me and that’s why we’re working together again in 2016 because we enjoyed working together.

Q: How does it feel to be a role model for young men?

RM: Well the Prince is the role model not me. I grew up with these Disney films and I have 2 sisters. They watch these films and say that. 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.
As I said at the start, that’s not that old fashioned view of you know a girl needing a guy. And I think 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 and a compassion to the people around him, an awareness of his privilege. And so if there’s little boys that that grow up and are [like that], I’ll be really honored by it.


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  1. (smile) definitely looks like a pretty dreamy event to attend. He looks pretty personable out of character.

  2. Richard really makes the perfect Prince in the new Cinderella movie and he sure had to train a long time to get down his dance scene. Dancing is not easy! But he sure is handsome and makes this movie really great with his incredible acting.

  3. I'm going to love this movie and I would love to be Cinderella, along with many other little girls!!!

  4. What eye candy! Mr. Madden answered some pretty personal questions. I find it difficult to believe that he did not develop some sort of crush on someone from his work. Thanks for sharing the interview.

  5. I can't wait to see this version of Cinderella. Thanks for sharing!

  6. He makes a very charming prince. Loved the movie.

    slehan at juno dot com