Chances are you know Game of Thrones. As one of the members of the besieged Stark clan, Madden stood tall while facing certain death. That’s a tough thing to play, especially when you’re so handsome.

Madden is bringing his handsomeness and his history with fantasy to Disney’s new, live-action “Cinderella,” directed by Kenneth Branagh, and co-starring Lily James and Cate Blanchett. In this version, Madden plays a kinder, gentler Prince Charming, one that Cinderella actually meets before the ball. Yes, there are complex new dimensions to this “Cinderella.” And it is glorious.

We got on the phone and spoke to Madden about what it was like going from dark fantasy to light fantasy (and what the reaction was to “Game of Thrones'” infamous Red Wedding), whether or not it was fun to play with fairy tale conventions, and grill him on his jock strap (he recently went on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to discuss). He also tells us that he’s dying to be in a movie with spaceships or dinosaurs or both. Struggling Hollywood screenwriters, you have your newest assignment.

What was it like going from the dark fantasy world of “Game of Thrones” to the much happier, cheerier fantasy world of “Cinderella”?

It was a relief. It was nice to be a part of something with a happy ending, where I’m not constantly worried that somebody is going to slaughter my family.

While we’re on the subject, were you taken aback by how people responded to The Red Wedding?

Absolutely. I’m always surprised. Because for me I just shot this TV show in Ireland and suddenly it’s this massive TV show and people really care about it. It’s quite wonderful, actually, because it means you’re doing something right if that many people watch it and care about it and get upset when characters die.

Were you a fan of the original animated “Cinderella”? And what’s your favorite Disney animated movie?

My favorite one is “Aladdin.” But I grew up with two sisters so I watched all of these movies and knew them inside out and knew all the songs. But I loved the original animated “Cinderella.” I love our version much more though because of the modernization and the message that we’re giving. It’s a message that she isn’t just a damsel in distress who needs a man to save her from her life. She’s an independent, brave woman, and the Prince and Cinderella bring out the best in each other. I think that’s a much better story than the original animation.

Was it fun playing with these conventions?

Absolutely. I just love to be able to actually build a character. In the original animation he’s maybe in two or three scenes. You don’t even get to know his name whereas in this story you get to see him as a son and a soldier and as a friend as well as a Prince to Cinderella. It was really fun to build a character from scratch.

I imagine every actor wants to work with Kenneth Branagh.


What was that experience like?

He’s inspirational. It was like taking a master class every day in acting and just how to conduct yourself and me and him and Lily have a great chemistry together, and a great working relationship and we’re working together in 2016. Lily and I are playing Romeo and Juliet on stage, and Kenneth is directing on the West End in London. Doing Shakespeare on stage with Kenneth Branagh, I don’t think it gets better than that.

Did he push you as an actor?

Oh, he pushed me every day. He would give me books on a weekly basis to read and he was always pushing to get the best out of me. He’s super intelligent and also a total gentleman.

The costumes in this movie are incredible.

Yeah, I get to wear some cool stuff. It was great because I had these conversations with [costume designer] Sandy Powell where I wanted to retain the masculinity for the Prince and I thought the costumes were a great opportunity to do that even though they’re really decadent costumes. I went slightly white when I saw the ball outfit because it’s very white with sequins and glitter and I was going, “This isn’t very masculine.” But it actually makes you feel very regal and empowers. It’s really very special.

You were on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” the other night talking about how hard it was to find the right jock strap for your character. Was Branagh involved in what underwear you guys were wearing?

Yes! Branagh is involved in every detail. He’s got such an eye for detail for things right down to the jock strap, where we had to get it right. So a lot of time and thought went into it, and Sandy Powell was such an extraordinary costume designer; you’re in safe hands.

What was it like working with Cate?

Well, not only is she stunningly beautiful but she’s also a proper movie star in every sense of it. The way she conducts herself on set is just a joy to watch. It’s like a master class, every day, being on set.

Did you go to drama school coming up?

Yeah, I went to drama school in Scotland.

So this was drama graduate school?

Yes! Exactly!

You’re now a famous Disney character. How would you feel about the Richard Madden version of Prince Charming walking around Disneyland?

A-ha! That would be quite cool! I could go and see him. That’ll be me if I don’t get another job lined up.

And your next movie, “Columbus Day,” is a modern thriller, right?

Yes. I actually get to wear jeans and a T-shirt for a change, instead of armor, like I’m used to.

What can you tell us about that?

It’s a thriller and it’s action and it’s me and Idris Elba, which I think is funny because it’s such an odd pairing as a couple of actors. But it’s hopefully got a bit of humor and tension and drama and it’s got some exciting pieces. And it was just a thrill to be able to do something that is so different than anything I’ve ever done before.

Is “Romeo and Juliet” going to be traditional period as well?

That will all be revealed in time.

Is there a genre you’re particularly looking to tackle next?

Sci-fi! I’m dying to do something sci-fi! I would love to be on a spaceship and firing a laser gun! Something like that would be really awesome. Or something with dinosaurs. Or preferably both at once.

They’re restarting “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars.” You could get into one of those movies.

Yeah, well… Maybe a “Star Wars”/”Jurassic Park” mash-up is something I could do in the future.

Interviews From 2015

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