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.

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."

11 Lively Gifts for Plant Parents

Blue Q/Amazon/Picnic Time/World Market
Blue Q/Amazon/Picnic Time/World Market

Many folks have been showing off their green thumbs this year thanks to the pandemic, so why not encourage their hobbies? There's a special gift for every kind of plant parent out there—think starter grow kits to gardening tools to cute cartoon socks. If the Christmas tree in the living room isn't enough greenery for your gift recipient's taste this festive season, we have some great gift options below.

1. Back To The Roots Garden In A Can Herb Growing Kit; $25

Back to the Roots/World Market

Herb gardens are compact, useful, and easy to maintain. If your giftee lives in an apartment and doesn't have outdoor space for a large garden, Back To The Roots's Garden In A Can Herb Growing Kit—a three-pack of basil, cilantro, and mint—is a great place for them to start their indoor horticultural journey.

Buy it: World Market

2. Plants Rock Cactus Growing Kit; $13

Plants Rock/World Market

Another option for small spaces is cacti, which do not require much water or attention. This kit makes it easy to start growing cacti in your gift recient's home. The tools are all included, so all your giftee has to do is plant the seeds and set the ceramic pot in a sunny spot.

Buy it: World Market

3. Picnic Time Folding Garden Stool With Tools; $69

Picnic Time/World Market

For more experienced gardeners, tools are essential for helping plants thrive. This stool with tools might solve the problem of sore knees and backs from kneeling in dirt. Not only is the seat portable and lightweight, but it also includes a storage tote and five pockets for tools like the included trowels and garden forks.

Buy it: World Market

4. Green and Pink Ribbed-Glass Plant Misters; $26

World Market

Indoor plants need as much care and attention as their outdoor cousins, but lugging around a watering can may cause a mess in your giftee's home. Using this set of two plant misters is an easy way to keep moisture-loving plants like orchids and Boston ferns nice and dewy.

Buy it: World Market

5. Cotton Macramé Plant Hanger; $18

World Market

Macramé plant hangers were all the rage back in the '70s. They've made a comeback this year as people have become craftier at home. This plant hanger is great for showing off plants that grow long, curtain-like tendrils and helpful when your giftee lives in a small space. With the roof as the limit, they can pack in as many plants as they want.

Buy it: World Market

6. Can't Kill Me 2021 Calendar; $8

TF Publishing/World Market

If your gift recipient loves plants but can't keep real ones alive, give them this mini wall calendar. It features, well, plant arrangements they can't kill, like succulents, bonsai trees, and snake plants. This calendar will surely add a dose of green to their home office.

Buy it: World Market

7. The New Plant Parent: Develop Your Green Thumb and Care for Your House-Plant Family; $17

Harry N. Abrams/Amazon

All gardeners want one simple thing: to know more about keeping their plants alive and thriving. This book has all the essentials for cultivating houseplants. It's full of tips and tricks for repotting a plant, taking care of certain types of plants, and adjusting light for your plant baby's survival.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Homenote Bamboo Plant Labels; $14

HOMENOTE/Amazon

Plant labels are a great way for your giftee to remember where they planted their rosemary versus their parsley before they sprout. This 60 label set comes with a pen, so the labeling process is a breeze.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Blue Q Proud Plant Mom Socks; $13

Blue Q/Amazon

Proud plant moms want to show off their love for their greenery any way they can. That's why these crew socks will be a hit with any of your green-thumbed friends. Blue Q also donates 1 percent of its sales revenue to Doctors Without Borders.

Buy it: Amazon

10. EuroGraphics 1000-Piece Jigsaw Puzzle; $20

EuroGraphics Toys/Amazon

This 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle will occupy your gift recipients from the fall harvest to the spring planting season. The challenging design of multiple succulents features each plant's common and scientific name.

Buy it: Amazon

11. AeroGarden Indoor Hydroponic Garden; $124

AeroGarden/Amazon

If seasons don't matter to your giftee and they want to start their herb garden right now, then the AeroGarden is going to be their best friend. They'll be able to grow herbs like dill, thyme, and mint indoors in the middle of winter. Thanks to the LED grow lights, there is no need to worry about plants getting enough sunlight. They can grow up to six plants at a time, all year round.

Buy it: Amazon

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15 Facts About A Nightmare on Elm Street

Robert Englund as A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger.
Robert Englund as A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger.
New Line Cinema

Enrich your annual Halloween viewing A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven’s 1984 horror classic, with these fascinating tidbits.

1. A Nightmare on Elm Street is Johnny Depp’s film debut.

During casting, it came down to Johnny Depp, who was then 21 years old, or another young actor to play Glen. Director Wes Craven asked his teenage daughter which actor he should cast as the heartthrob boyfriend—she chose Depp.

2. A Nightmare on Elm Street was inspired by real-life events.

Craven decided to make A Nightmare on Elm Street after reading a series of Los Angeles Times articles about a group of teenage Khmer immigrants who, after moving to the U.S. from refugee camps, died in their sleep after suffering from disturbing nightmares.

3. Freddy Krueger is an amalgamation of Wes Craven’s childhood terrors.

“Freddy” was the name of a bully who beat Craven up in elementary school, and his signature hat was based on one worn by a neighborhood drunk who scared Craven when he was young.

4. Freddy Krueger’s sweater is scientifically scary.

Craven designed Freddy’s striped sweater after reading in Scientific American that the human eye has difficulty recognizing those particular shades of red and green side by side. Therefore, looking at it is subliminally unsettling.

5. Freddy Krueger’s weapon of choice was inspired by house pets and infomercials.

Craven didn’t want Freddy to wield a simple knife like Michael Myers in Halloween or Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th, so he drew on his fear of his own cat’s claws and a series of late-night commercials selling sets of knives to create Freddy’s iconic knife glove.

6. Wes Craven’s other influences include surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel and director Roman Polanski.

He drew on their works, particularly Polanski’s The Tenant and Repulsion, for the dream sequences in the film.

7. A Nightmare on Elm Street was shot in just 32 days.

Principal photography began in June 1984 and wrapped in July.

8. The boiler room in A Nightmare on Elm Street was an actual boiler room—in the basement of a jail.

The scenes where Freddy attacks his victims in a boiler room were shot in an actual boiler room in the basement of the Lincoln Heights Jail in Los Angeles. Soon after shooting ended, the building was condemned because of asbestos.

9. It took A Nightmare on Elm Street's makeup artists three hours each day to apply and take off Robert Englund’s Freddy Krueger makeup.

The makeup consisted of 11 separate pieces applied to Englund’s face and upper chest.

10. Robert Englund based his performance as Freddy Krueger on a horror icon and musical theater star.

Englund was inspired by Klaus Kinski’s performance in the 1979 remake of Nosferatu and the work of actor James Cagney.

11. British actor David Warner was originally supposed to play Freddy Krueger.

He was forced to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.

12. One of A Nightmare on Elm Street's most famous scenes was inspired by Stanley Kubrick.

The famous scene in which a geyser of blood shoots out of Glen’s bed was inspired by a similar scene of blood pouring from an elevator in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. To create this effect, the blood was created from 80 gallons of water mixed with red paint, which was then was poured through a set built upside-down.

13. Nancy was almost killed by breakfast foods in A Nightmare on Elm Street.

The sticky substance that keeps her from running up the stairs away from Freddy was in fact a mixture of oatmeal and pancake batter.

14. The movie that Nancy watches to try to stay awake is Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead.

Craven added the nod to Raimi because Raimi had previously included a poster of Craven’s second film, The Hills Have Eyes, in a scene in The Evil Dead. Raimi eventually returned the favor by hiding Freddy’s knife glove in a scene in a tool shed in Evil Dead II.

15. The sleep doctor who tries to cure Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street is played by Charles Fleischer.

Fleischer provided the voice for Roger Rabbit.

This story has been updated for 2020.