From 'Game Of Thrones' To 'Bodyguard,' Richard Madden Plays The Brooding Hero11:00
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Richard Madden as Sgt. David Budd, in a still from the Netflix and BBC series "Bodyguard." (Sophie Mutevelian/World Productions/Netflix)
Richard Madden as Sgt. David Budd, in a still from the Netflix and BBC series "Bodyguard." (Sophie Mutevelian/World Productions/Netflix)

Editor's Note: This segment was rebroadcast on July 17, 2019, after "Bodyguard" was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series. That audio is available here.


"Bodyguard" was one of the 10 most-binged original shows produced by Netflix in 2018, the company announced, and its finale was the most-watched episode of any drama series in the U.K. since current records began in 2002.

The show, a co-production of Netflix and the BBC, was nominated for a Golden Globe for best drama series. Its star, Richard Madden, also received a Golden Globe nomination for his role as Sgt. David Budd, a British war veteran grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder and his new job guarding the hawkish U.K. home secretary.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks with Madden (@_richardmadden), who says what drew him to the show was the "ambiguity of all the characters."

"They all live in such a gray zone of what's good and what's bad about each of them, and the script kind of plays with that idea throughout it," he says. "I find them all very human, and their motives ... [are] changing throughout the show."

Madden's character in particular is supposed to be a hero, but he often makes decisions that enter that gray area of right and wrong, he says.

"He's a hero, and he's a villain, and he's damaged, and he's really strong, and he's a protector, and he's a victim and all these kind of these brilliant contrasting things," Madden says.

Interview Highlights

On playing a character who suffers from PTSD

"My character, David Budd, he's in denial about what his situation is, and how that affects him and how bad it is for him, which is not as simple as we see in the movies. Sometimes this, you know, someone drops a glass, and they dive for cover and have mad flashbacks. I mean, that can be an element of it, but I think there's a lot more subtleties and a lot more constant living with this disorder that was more important for me to bring out and show those subtleties and how people actually carry something all day, every day with them."

On how he expresses a character competing with multiple layers of emotion

"That's a very difficult question to answer. I'm not really quite sure how I did it. I think it was just trying to build this character and build that into him. You know, this denial of it, but this kind of constant bursting out of it at points, which is particularly difficult for a man who's a protector and trying to kind of very much look after everyone else and not taking care of himself."

"They all live in such a gray zone of what's good and what's bad about each of them, and the script kind of plays with that idea throughout it."

Richard Madden on the characters in 'Bodyguard'

On his role as Rob Stark in "Game Of Thrones"

"People still talk to me about Rob Stark, which I love because it was a character very close to my heart. I'm really thankful for the opportunity to play David Budd and be in 'Bodyguard,' and that's something else — that I'm not kind of purely defined by just one show, which is really exciting for me. I've kind of tried my best since I left ['Game Of Thrones'] to be diverse and try different roles and different things, so I'm really glad that something like 'Bodyguard' has done so well and traveled so well, so ... I'm not just typecast, I suppose, as this young prince or king. I can do other things, and it's been nice to be able to express that."

On his role in the upcoming film, "Rocket Man"

"It was just completely different for me and really exciting. I love Dexter Fletcher, the director, and really talented actors Taron Egerton and Jamie Bell [were] involved. And actually it was, the script is so fantastic. It's this strange, hard-to-describe, it's like 'Moulin Rouge!' on acid about Elton John, which, you know, I picked up and read it and went, 'Yeah, this is great. I'd watch that movie, so you know, I want to be in it.' And I got to play this really amazing character who is in many ways, a villain and which again is different for me. I mean, also I'm singing and dancing and so that's a whole different skill set required as well."

On what drew him to acting 

"I was a very shy kid, and I got into acting, into youth theater, to try and combat that, and give me a bit of confidence before I went to high school. And that's really where my kind of acting career started. I got a film when I was 11, and then a TV show for a few years which took me out of school, and it kind of rolled on from there."

On the toughest moment in his career so far 

"I'd been doing a lot of theater for many years, and very much wanted to get into camera acting and more television and film stuff, and I think in the U.K., it can be very much one or the other. When you're starting, you kind of you can only be in one of the circles a lot of the time. And I made a deliberate effort to stop theater for a while and focus on trying to get camera work, and actually I was out of work for about 10 months and had very little money. Actually, my last money I had spent on my rent, and I was going to have to go back and move in with my parents. And that was a really tough, depressing time. And then right at the end of that 10 months, I got cast in this show called 'Game of Thrones.' That changed the game for me a bit, so one of the best things that happened in my life came out of one of these darkest moments."


Chris Bentley produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Samantha Raphelson adapted it for the web.

This segment aired on December 13, 2018.

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