'Bodyguard' Star Richard Madden on Portraying PTSD and His 'Game of Thrones' Prediction
The actor, aka Robb Stark, earned his first Golden Globe nomination for Netflix's British thriller.
Richard Madden, best known as Game of Thrones' late King in the North, Robb Stark, scored his first-ever Golden Globe nomination for his leading role in Bodyguard, a BBC One thriller that also streams on Netflix. Madden hasn't been able to figure out why the show has performed so well abroad and in the U.S. “I wish I knew because then I’d apply it to all my jobs,” he says with a laugh. “I think it might be what attracted me to the job, which are these complicated characters that don’t lie in one camp or another. They’re morally ambiguous, and I think that can reflect on humans quite accurately.” The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Madden about the nuances of portraying a character suffering from PTSD, who in his cast he'd choose to be stuck in an elevator with and his Game of Thrones predictions.
What was the most challenging part of taking on this character?
There were lots of challenges. I wanted to portray the PTSD part of his psyche accurately and gently and compassionately and in a fresh way that maybe I have not seen so much on television or film, where it's not stereotypical. It's not a case of someone drops a glass and you duck for cover and have these crazy flashbacks to the war. Although, I acknowledge that that can happen with PTSD. But a lot of people suffer from PTSD in a much more silent, much more unrecognizable way — a constant sense of dread or anxiety or difficulty dealing with their day-to-day lives, and that's something that I really wanted to explore and get right.
Which of your co-stars would you most want to be trapped in an elevator with?
Keeley Hawes, hands down. Just because I think she’s a wonderful human being and a brilliant actress and a good friend of mine since we’ve worked together. And mostly because we’re a couple of school kids when we get together and we just giggle and are quite silly. So if I were going to get trapped in an elevator, it’d probably be with her and a bottle of champagne and we’d have the giggles.
You gained recognition playing Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, but that was a sprawling ensemble show. What is it like to step into more leading-man roles?
I was ready for it. I was a kid when I started Game of Thrones and I learned a lot through it and grew up doing it and left at the right point when I was outgrowing that age of that character, just in terms of the way I was growing. I was growing in age but the character wasn’t much. So now to step into these other roles where I’m not a prince or a king and where I’m a father before I’m a son has been a big change for me and something that I’m excited about and ready for.
Have you kept up on Game of Thrones since your departure?
Absolutely. I can’t wait for the new season. I kind of don’t recognize that I was in it anymore because I’ve been watching so many years of it, and they talk about Robb Stark and I know who he is but I don’t see myself in that role. I’m just a viewer now, which is so good. That was one of the bad things about being in the show is you got the scripts so you knew what was going to happen next, and I’ve not had that for years, so now I can just truly enjoy it as a viewer, which is thrilling.
Who do you think is going to take the throne?
I kind of think it’s just going to be three dragons flying around and everyone else is dead. It’s a possibility!
A version of this story first appeared in a December stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.