No James Bond, but Richard Madden Will Return as David Budd in ‘Bodyguard’

The "Game of Thrones" alum relished the opportunity to play a father instead of yet another son.
Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes, "Bodyguard"
Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes, "Bodyguard"
Sophie Mutevelian/World Productions/Netflix

Richard Madden giveth and Richard Madden taketh away. At the April 7 Emmys FYC event for Netflix’s “Bodyguard,” the star of the taut UK thriller again swore there was no James Bond in his future.

“That’s a lovely, flattering rumor that is on the internet. And at that end, that’s all it is: a lovely, flattering rumor. But no, I’m not,” Madden said, when an audience member inquired after the Bond speculation.

As for the prospect of more seasons of “Bodyguard,” Madden was cautiously optimistic.

“Everyone worked really hard to make the show what it is, and we’d be doing it an injustice to rush into [a second season],” he explained. “So we’re taking this year and then diving into something next year.”

The actor’s effortless charm was a stark contrast to the brooding, tormented, soldier-turned-security man he embodied in “Bodyguard,” a role he relished as an opportunity to transition into a different part of his career.

“Playing a father was a really big thing for me, in terms of where I’m at age-wise,” the “Game of Thrones” alum said. “So many of the other characters I’ve played have been sons. To not be son, to be a father, is a very different kind of thing of how you approach every scene.”

Perhaps even more than his interest in playing a father was Madden’s desire to portray Budd’s PTSD in a fashion not often seen in pop culture.

“I wanted to come in subtly and not how it’s often represented in films —  someone drops a glass and I duck for cover,” he said. “That’s not what it’s like for a lot of people. It’s a man whose fighting with everything he’s got to deny he’s got PTSD. And it’s bursting out of him actually, and he doesn’t realize it.”

Richard Madden "Bodyguard"
Richard Madden attends the Netflix “Bodyguard” screening.Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Netflix

Madden has already been richly rewarded for his efforts, not the least of which being his Golden Globe win for Actor in a Drama TV Series in January, a development that came as something of a shock, particularly to the actor himself.

“I just remember kind of turning to Julianne Moore, and being like, ‘This is surreal enough,’” Madden said of hearing his name announced as the winner. “And now I have to go up there in front of all the really, really famous people and do a speech now.”

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association weren’t the only ones taken in by the twisty terrorist tale at the center of “Bodyguard.” The BBC series originally premiered in the U.K. in August 2018, earning both rave reviews and record ratings, with over 10 million viewers watching the live broadcast of the finale.

The series carried much of that fervor to its global distribution, courtesy of Netflix, but Madden noted a few key differences between “Bodyguard” fans in the U.K. and the U.S.

He noted that because the show aired weekly overseas, that fans had plenty of time to formulate their own pet theories about what would happen next, going out of their way to beg that they not spoil him on the ending.

“The difference was, when I came to LA, it had been on Netflix for 10 days and there was quite a lot of people coming up who looked completely exhausted, had been up six hours straight, watched all of it, anxious as hell,” he said, with a laugh.

With more “Bodyguard” still at least a year away, the key to the future for Madden is variety.

“I’m trying to keep it as mixed up as possible, and as challenging for myself as possible,” he explained, mentioning that he’ll be both singing and dancing in the Elton John biopic “Rocketman,” scheduled for release May 31.

“I’ve done good guys plenty,” Madden said. “I’m more excited to go down these routes where maybe he’s not so much of a nice guy all the time.”

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