Richard Madden says his new role in Discovery’s Klondike was much more grueling to shoot than his time on the Game of Thrones set playing the beloved Robb Stark (RIP).

Klondike is an education series based on the adventures of Bill Haskell, played by Madden, an adventurer who participated in The Klondike Gold Rush. The Klondike Gold Rush began in 1896, when gold was found in the Yukon and miners flew to Alaska hoping to strike it rich. The three-part mini-series marks Discovery’s first attempt at scripted drama.

Richard Madden Talks Stunts And Freezing Weather

For Klondike, Madden and his fellow actors filmed on location on the top of mountains and traversing frozen ground and lakes for four months, something Madden reveals was harder than anything he had to do on the set of Game of Thrones. For his role as Robb Stark in GoT, Madden learned how to ride a horse, handle various weapons, and the show also shoots in cold weather in Europe. Madden told Today that he thought every other shoot would pale in comparison, but found himself eating his words on the Klondike set.

“At least in Game of Thrones sometimes there was a tent to go back to with a heater in it…[But in Klondike] you’re up a mountain, you know, the tents would blow away. We didn’t have anything… It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my life,” Madden says.


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In another interview, Madden reveals the effect of the freezing rain and 17-hour days had on him, remembering one specific scene, which required him to be swimming in icy water after his character is knocked off a boat.

“I was nearly hypothermic at the end of one of those days. I couldn’t do a take because I was shaking so much,” Madden remembers.

The cold was not all Madden had to contend with, he also had to overcome his fears of performing stunts on a frozen lake. In the days of the Gold Rush, people traveled to the Yukon on dog sleds, speeding over the icy terrain. Madden, who insisted on doing all of his own stunts, recounts his experience shooting on a dog sled over a frozen lake. Though thrilling, he says, it was also terrifying.

“I had to do a whole sequence… on the ice, which was melting. You felt it would drop a couple of inches when you were standing on it and the whole crew would run back to the shore. But you were the farthest one out because you’re the one on camera! So that was terrifying… By the fourth [take] I was so physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted… I got into the back of this car and I couldn’t bring myself to sit up. Someone carried me into makeup, [and] I just had, like, full nosebleeds running down my face,” Madden revealed.

Suffice to say, Madden would prefer for his next job to take place in a warmer climate.

“I don’t think I want to film anything in the cold for a while,” he said, “I think I need to film something tropical on a beach in a bar.”

Richard Madden Looks Forward To 'Game of Thrones'

Though Madden just finished filming Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella (he plays Prince Charming opposite Lily James’ Cinderella), Madden doesn’t have a specific project lined up, according to IMDB. Whatever his next role is, one thing is for sure: it will be a new challenge.

“I always try to push myself to do something, a totally different challenge from the last thing I’ve done… I played Romeo when I was younger, and I think I did a couple kind Romeo-like parts after that, and I went, ‘I mustn’t do this again. I must always choose something that I don’t know if I’m a good enough actor to play,’” Madden told Zap2it.

As for what kind of role he’d like to play, Madden says he’d love to participate in a sci-fi action film.

“I’d love to do something in the future, mostly on a space ship with some sort of laser gun… I’ll just put that into the world: Sci-fi, please.”

In the meantime, Madden is looking forward to watching Game of Thrones when the HBO show returns for its fourth season April 6 – the first season he is not in.

“I just want to enjoy it as an audience member for the first time… I’m very proud to be a part of it and I’m very excited to keep watching it,” Madden said of the show.

Klondike, also starring Sam Shepard, Abbie Cornish, Johnny Simmons and Tim Blake Nelson, will air Part 2 Tuesday, Jan. 21, and Part 3 Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 9 p.m. on Discovery Channel.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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