Disclaimer: Disney sent me to Los Angeles on an all-expenses paid press trip, in exchange for my coverage of the red carpet world premiere of Cinderella and cast interviews like this Richard Madden interview. All opinions are my own.
Photo Credit: Disney
I crave a good love story. So when CINDERELLA was announced, I needed to know that these two actors could live up to the challenge. To be honest, I’d never seen either one of them act (Gasp!) as I hadn’t yet started watching Downton Abbey (Lily James – Cinderella) or Games of Thrones (Richard Madden – Prince).
There needed to be chemistry, especially since we weren’t dealing with animation anymore. I needed to see it in their eyes.
Ah, those eyes…..
And that brings me to the Prince, or Kit (how he first introduced himself to Cinderella), aka Richard Madden.
I’m not an “EYE” girl. I really couldn’t tell you the color of my husband’s eyes unless I looked on his driver’s license. (Shhhhh! Please, don’t tell). It’s just that there are other things I’m drawn to when first meeting someone.
BUT, in this movie, I dare you not to stare deeply into the Princes’ eyes. Such a beautiful, bright blue. The kind of eyes which have you mesmerized in a matter of seconds. It’s no doubt why “Ella”, as Cinderella is originally called, smiles and falls for the Prince in the forest during their first meeting.
I had to ask Richard Madden about those eyes as I thought for sure they had enhanced them for the movie. He quickly added that they were all natural – he was just incredibly healthy during the filming of the movie.
Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with Richard Madden along with 24 other bloggers and ask him all things CINDERELLA! What a privilege.
Having seen the film and then having the opportunity to interview Richard Madden, I was so excited to see that this movie isn’t just for girls. You see, the Prince, though hailing from years ago, is exactly the type of Prince we’d love for our boys to emulate.
The characteristics we admire are all built up in this man……who in the end, didn’t really need to be a Prince. We (and Cinderella) would have fallen in love with his character anyway….the kingdom is just the icing on the cake.
For the modern day woman dating today, what would you tell them a Prince Charming is?
Richard said, “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”.
Photo Credit: Disney
Richard said, “The Prince is the role model not me. I grew up with these Disney films and I have 2 sisters. And I think that’s just where you first deal with death, and love, and good and bad, and that’s what I really wanted to do with this Prince”.
“And I think I wanted to try and make a Prince that young men would have to look up to that– 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”.
On Updating the Prince…..and rescuing (or not) the girl….
Richard said, “A lot of my Prince is based on Kenneth Branagh ‘cause he is like a true gentleman. I wanted to make him different. In animation you only see him in 2 or 3 scenes. And 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 and in this version it’s 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’s this wonderful amazing woman that I wanted to make a man that was worthy of her affections”.
Richard Madden certainly had a sense of humor during the interview, and even talked about those costumes of his……
He said, “I mean when I first saw my 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.’ [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] We agreed on something and that’s just not it. But actually once you put it on it does make me feel regal”.
As someone who adores period pieces, those costumes are simply stunning and Prince-ly. You just couldn’t have it any other way (more on my interview with the costume designer tomorrow)!
Photo Credit: Disney
On his Favorite Scene…..
Richard stated, “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, 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 that– these 2 huge beasts. They were both trying to control and their feelings and this kind of dance that they do on the horses”.
While it is hard to pick just one favorite scene, I almost agree with Richard Madden. That first encounter between the two, Cinderella and the Prince, left me smiling. It’s like I experienced that “first meeting” with butterflies all over again (though admittedly, it’s been quite a while). There’s nothing like meeting someone for the first time, and the scene captured the emotion perfectly.
Richard said, “It was miserable. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] I’m not a naturally gifted dancer. So I had to kind of train for like 2 or 3 months for 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 [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] and because I would just destroy it. I went through like 2 practice dresses that looked like a bunch of cats have destroyed them”.
“But yea I wanted to make sure, 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”.
When you see the movie and that infamous ballroom scene, you see just how choreographed it is. Bravo Prince!!
Photo Credit: Disney
The Chemistry between Lily James and Richard Madden….
Richard said, “What’s good about me and Lily is you know we’re really good friends. I still see her like on a weekly basis. And 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”.
The Games of Thrones Comparison….??
Richard said, “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 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 knowing in his heart that that’s right.
But there’s not a lot of parallels after that between them. They’re both kind of very different men and I mean it’s just nice to play a character where you’re not wanting– that someone’s trying to kill you or your whole family all the time”.
The Prince Dishes on Cinderella….
Richard said, “Well Lily used to burp just all the time. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS] It’s– ‘cause 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 we shot them filming for like 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. And then you could just see her face like tears welling up and her like burping and be like ‘get the corset off now'”.
Our time with Richard Madden went by too fast. Does he fit the ideal of the Prince – absolutely! And I hear he’s single…..so ladies, he’s quite a catch! Those eyes…… 🙂
CINDERELLA is playing in theaters EVERYWHERE! What are you waiting for?