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Richard Madden interview: “I nearly died a couple of times”

Frostbite cures, Prince Charming and becoming more famous then Mel Gibson

You come from Elderslie, a town between Glasgow and Paisley. Since Game of Thrones you’ve probably become the most famous son after William Wallace. Can you beat him?

My next challenge! But how can I be more famous than Mel Gibson?

The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones shocked the world. As an actor, did you feel a sense of achievement?

Most important was how we managed to keep it such a surprise. It’s in the book, it’s on the internet and so many people didn’t know it was going to happen.

It’s a story of how you survive when everything is life and death all day, every day

Are you looking forward to watching series four not having to worry about who’s out to kill you?

I could not be more excited. When you’re in it, you read the scripts so many times, you know what’s going to happen inside out. I’ve got the joy of just being a viewer this time.

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Are there any similarities between Game of Thrones and your new show Klondike?

It’s a story of your humanity and morality, how you survive when stakes couldn’t be higher and everything is life and death all day everyday.

It’s set during the Gold Rush?

On paper it’s about two guys that go up to the Yukon during the Gold Rush to make their fortune in 1897. It’s just a really great drama focusing on human beings in extreme situations.

Did you get in any extreme situations while filming?

I probably nearly died a couple of times. I did all my own stunts, threw myself into category four river rapids, got frostbite on my face. That hurt.

What’s the cure for frostbite on your face?

Lotions and potions. Filming Game of Thrones seemed tropical by the end of Klondike.

The character you play, Bill Haskell, was a real person. What did you find out about him?

I found out a lot about his strength. You had to be a warrior just to get to where they went. He was a man who never took the easy option. When there’s murder and greed and violence, at the point where anyone of us would become an animal and stab someone in the back or slit a man’s throat to save yours, there was that beautiful bit of humanity.

It’s like you’re describing modern day Paisley.

Exactly that. You don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Next up for you is Disney’s live action Cinderella. Prince Charming no less…

He’s a character that everyone has a conception of but what do we know about him? I’m trying to make him true and honest within a fairytale context. I need to pull my weight – there are some big players in that film: Derek Jacobi, Helena Bonham Carter, Cate Blanchett plays the evil stepmother.

A slightly better cast than your average pantomime.

Although that’s what I thought it was when I got it through on my email, a panto in Poole then I realised, actually Kenneth Branagh is directing. Oh right, ok. I’ll read it then.

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