10 Surprising Facts About Richard Madden

Stuart C. Wilson, Getty Images
Stuart C. Wilson, Getty Images

Scottish actor Richard Madden may be best known for his portrayal of Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, yet that's not his most acclaimed role to date. Earlier this year, Madden won a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama for his role in the political crime drama Bodyguard. Currently, he can be seen on the big screen in the Elton John biopic Rocketman, and is also reportedly a front-runner to take over the role of James Bond from Daniel Craig. Not bad for a 33-year-old actor (his birthday is today).

Next up, Madden will star in the new Sam Mendes film 1917, and is rumored to be acting in an upcoming Marvel film, The Eternals. Since his original rise to fame with Game of Thrones, Madden has managed to keep himself extremely busy. To celebrate his birthday, here are a few things you might not know about the star.

1. Richard Madden started acting as a way to get over his shyness.

When asked by Flaunt magazine in a 2015 interview what he'd be doing if he wasn't acting, Madden said that he'd probably be a "shy, fat kid living in Scotland with no girlfriend." Though one might think he was making a joke, Madden explained that he was incredibly shy growing up and gravitated toward acting as a way to overcome this by joining a children's theater. The actor says he is still shy now, though it clearly hasn’t stood in the way of his success.

2. He didn't make a fortune off of Game of Thrones.

Michelle Fairley, Richard Madden, and Oona Chaplin in Game of Thrones
Helen Sloan, HBO

Although Game of Thrones turned Madden into a household name, the actor didn't make a fortune playing the King in the North. "People think I am [rich], because of Game Of Thrones, but you know, when I signed up for that I was 22," Madden told The Sunday Times. Though he did not disclose exactly how much he was paid for the role, we can assume it was nowhere near the whopping $500,000 per episode stars like Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke were making toward the end of the series.

3. Madden is uncomfortable with his sex symbol status.

From his Game of Thrones role to his part in Bodyguard, Madden has quickly become an internet obsession. But the actor isn’t a fan of that kind of attention. “I worry sometimes about it affecting my job," Madden said in 2018. "If people go, ‘Oh, he’s that hunky thing,’ it undermines that actually I’m an actor and I’m trying really hard to be good at it.”

4. Madden's nether regions caused a problem on the set of Cinderella.

Madden may be uncomfortable with being one of the internet's boyfriends, but playing Prince Charming opposite Lily James in the 2015 live-action remake of Cinderella only increased his visibility. Having worked on a show like Game of Thrones, making a PG-rated movie was a new experience for Madden—and one that introduced him to a rather odd issue on-set: trying to keep his bulge hidden.

While appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Madden explained the measures the filmmakers had to take to make sure his look was PG-rated. "The prince can't have any genitalia, apparently," Madden said. "We had about two days of screen tests where we had to try lots of different jock straps, just to make sure we can't see anything through the trousers."

5. Madden learned about Robb Stark's fate from Google.

With a beloved franchise like Game of Thrones, it would seem that even if you hadn't read the books before portraying a character, you could pretty easily find out about their arc. So for Madden, his technique of reading George R.R. Martin’s books as they were filming was definitely a fail. The actor recalled:

"A thousand people spoiled it for me before I had a chance to pick up the third book. I read [the books] season-by-season. I don't want to preempt where Robb is going and that's what I've done since the show started. I also made the fatal flaw of Googling. So that kind of reinforced what people were hinting—saying that something terrible was going to happen and giggling."

6. Madden's mom wasn't happy about his Bodyguard sex scenes.

Madden is no stranger to filming intimate scenes, but it looks like his parents will never get used to seeing their son naked on-screen. While appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss Bodyguard, the host asked the actor if his mom and dad were happy to see his bare butt in the series. Madden quickly explained:

“No, they're never happy about the butt. I've made a few mistakes in my time, which is neglecting to tell my mother that there's going to be a sex scene in the show. And then I get kind of a hysterical phone call of, 'You must tell me and your father! I was watching it at the time and my cup of tea, I nearly spilled it!' And then she covers her eyes.”

7. Madden's family has an awkward nickname for him.

While appearing on The Late Late Show With James Corden, Madden explained the awkward nickname his mom gave him: Little Dick. "She loves it. It's her favorite gag," he said. "My father's also called Richard—which translates as 'Big Dick' and 'Little Dick.' Thanks, mum!"

8. Madden made a surprising friend in Elton John while filming Rocketman.

Currently, Madden can be seen playing John Reid, Elton John’s first boyfriend and manager, in the recently-released Rocketman. While promoting the film on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon, Madden revealed that he became friends with the real Elton John after making the movie, explaining it was surprising to find out how “shy” and “gentle” he actually was.

9. Madden is "thankful" he was killed off on Game of Thrones so early.

Madden recently revealed that he is grateful to be one of the actors killed off early in Game of Thrones. Madden spoke about the experience in an interview with Amy Adams for Variety’s Actors on Actors series, saying:

“It was such a hard thing to finish because from first pilot to my death was five years. But five years was a great time to be on the show. It helped me so much with my career and experience. I learned a lot from shooting 30 hours of television. You really start to learn the trade doing that. And then I was thankful to leave it.”

Three seasons was enough for Madden, and he praised the actors who made it until the end. “Give these guys some medals, because that is a marathon,” he said.

10. Madden did, however, cry like a baby after his final day of filming.



View this post on Instagram

#TBT This is Kit, Alfie and I after our first read through of S1 Ep1 of Game of Thrones about 10 years ago. KIDZ.

A post shared by Richard Madden (@maddenrichard) on

While Madden may have the benefit of hindsight now, he was in a very different emotional state following his final days of filming on Game of Thrones. In a 2018 interview with GQ, Madden shared that he cried so hard on the flight home from the set that he actually frightened other passengers. “I was sobbing and covered in blood," Madden said. "I looked like I’d murdered someone and got on that flight which, in fact, I hadn’t—I’d been murdered."

Friends Cast Confirms Reunion Special is Coming to HBO Max

David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston in Friends.
David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston in Friends.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Could we be any more excited? After months of reports that the cast of Friends might be coming together for a reunion of sorts, it looks like it's officially a done deal.

According to Variety, all of the six original actors—Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer—have signed on for an unscripted special from HBO Max. While previous reports claimed each star would likely earn between $3 and $4 million for their appearances, it's now believed their paychecks will be "at least" $2.5 million apiece.

And to make everything even more real, the beloved actors behind the iconic series are personally confirming the news. All six stars took to Instagram quickly after the news dropped to share their excitement. "It's happening," they captioned the posts.

In a statement, HBO Max's chief content officer Kevin Reilly had this to say of the news:

"Guess you could call this the one where they all got back together—we are reuniting with David, Jennifer, Courteney, Matt, Lisa, and Matthew for an HBO Max special that will be programmed alongside the entire Friends library. I became aware of Friends when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation. It taps into an era when friends—and audiences—gathered together in real time, and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans."

The Friends reunion does not have a release date yet, but HBO Max is debuting this May.

Party Like a Hobbit at Chicago’s Lord of the Rings Pop-Up Bar

Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Gollum and a Ringwraith loom near Bilbo's hobbit hole at Replay Lincoln Park's Lord of the Rings pop-up bar.
Replay Lincoln Park

One does not simply walk into Mordor, but one does simply walk into The Lord of the Rings pop-up bar in Chicago—as long as you’re at least 21 years old, of course.

Replay Lincoln Park, known for elaborate themed pop-ups for Game of Thrones, South Park, and other entertainment franchises, has transformed its premises into a magical reproduction of Middle-earth aptly called “The One Pop-Up to Rule Them All,” open now through March 23.

Inside, you’ll be able to crouch under an outcropping of tangled tree roots while one of the dreaded Nazgûl lurks above you, high-five a grimacing Gollum, and snap photos with all your favorite Lord of the Rings characters.

nazgul at the lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Nazgûl like to party, too.
Replay Lincoln Park

You might want to skip elevenses to make sure you have plenty of room for a Hobbit-approved feast during your visit. The menu, catered by Zizi’s Cafe, features items like Fried Po-tay-toes, Lord of the Wings, Beef Lembas, and Pippen’s Popcorn.

ent replica at chicago's replay lincoln park pop-up bar
Say hello to a friendly Ent while you munch on "Pippen's Popcorn."
Replay Lincoln Park

According to Thrillist, there will be three different counters in the bar, each with its own specialty drinks. Head to The Prancing Pony for a second breakfast shot (maple whiskey, bacon, and orange juice), or take a trip to Minas Tirith to toss back a palantir shot, made of silver tequila and passion fruit purée. If you’re in the mood for a little dark magic, you can trek over to Mordor and try a “my precious” shot, a fusion of dark rum, orange liquor, and Cajun seasoning.

lord of the rings pop-up bar at chicago's replay lincoln park
The Eye of Sauron is watching you order another round of Mordor shots.
Replay Lincoln Park

For those of you who are happy to accompany your Tolkien-obsessed friends to the pop-up but aren’t exactly tickled at the sight of a moss-covered Ent replica yourselves, take heart in this added bonus: Replay Lincoln Park also boasts more than 60 free arcade games and pinball machines.

[h/t Thrillist]

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