‘The Royals’ New Villian Max Brown Dishes on the Etiquette and Scandal of Season 4
Max Brown is cool refinement even as he portrays a vile villain in E!’s scandalous “The Royals.” Now entering its fourth season, the show continues its saga of an imagined British royal family as it seeks to keep its power, while indulging in debauched intrigue. Murder, affairs and mayhem are all here to the delight of the show’s devotees. In the new season Brown becomes a prime focus of attention as his character, Prince Robert Henstridge, is crowned King of England to the despair of those who truly know him, like Prince Liam (William Moseley), who immediately starts plotting to expose Robert. But through-out the season what distinguishes Robert as a villain is his steel stare and cold exterior, even when surrounded by eccentric characters like the wild, vivacious uncle Cyrus (Jake Maskall), who also plots against Robert while partying hard. Brown has gained much experience having acted in a wide gamut of shows ranging from “The Tudors” to “Agent Carter.” So it is no surprise how easily he settles into his role as a slick monarch.
Brown recently sat down with Entertainment Voice to talk about his role in the fourth season of “The Royals.”
“I was lucky enough to come into this show after they had had a couple of seasons, I came in in season three, and the character had been talked about so much that I really felt like I understood his moral upbringing and his background,” said Brown. “It’s real hats off to the writers on the show, because they’ve come up with this great storyline for him. They give me these great moments to use all that knowledge that I have of him.”
When tackling a character as villainous but well-composed as Robert, Brown draws from a particular well of renowned influences. “As an actor I’ve always just kind of jogged through everything, from ‘The Tudors’ to ‘Spooks.’ I’ve managed to play some really interesting characters through-out my career. I’ve worked with some people I really look up to like James Frain, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Peter Firth in ‘Spooks.’ Lots of guys who are always cool on screen. Knowing the lines well, getting in there, really creating a character.”
Brown also taps into similarities between himself and the character, even if Robert inhabits a world so different from Brown’s own. “We’re very different as people but you always have to be grounded in reality. My reality is my drive, as an actor, as a man to achieve what I want out of life. I see myself as very moralistic. Robert is similar in that he’s very set in his ways, whether he’s right or wrong, and so it’s a lot of fun to play him.”
“The Royals” is infamously watchable due to its diabolical twists as well as the decadent world of some of its characters. One wonders just how wild the set can get when conjuring such tales on screen. “If we got as wild as the show I don’t think the show would get made,” said Brown with a chuckle, “I kinda laughed this season because I had a scene in episode two where I stumble upon a party at uncle Cyrus’s apartment at the palace and and it was the first time I see our worlds crossing over.” The scene Brown refers to is one where Cyrus, stricken with a terminal illness and determined to make the most of his time, throws a wild romp in which he appears in a gimp outfit. “And I have this serious, grounded reality in being part of the royal family, and uncle Cyrus has this wild side hidden from the public persona. I laughed with the producers and told them this was the first time I had ever seen something like that, so I really tried to play the truthness of that reaction and the disgust of stumbling into that party in the palace.”
But do the actual royals at Buckingham Palace tune in? “I have no idea, I’m sure they wouldn’t admit it,” said Brown. “I could assume Prince Harry maybe being a fan back in the day when he was partying a bit harder than he does now, but yeah, I can’t imagine the Queen sitting down to watch ‘The Royals.’ I’d love to imagine her doing that. I don’t think she’d be able to tell anybody if she was a fan.”
“I’m so blessed in this show that I get so many great scenes,” added Brown. “There’s a scene between me and Liam later on in the season, and it was two kind of wild animals working each other out, almost parading around each other, the way we shot it was a really great scene to film. I’m looking forward to the fans watching that scene.”
Looking into the future, Brown is left in as much suspense as the fan base. “It’s only speculation, because I don’t know yet what the writers have up their sleeve.”
“The Royals” Season 4 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on E!