“After all this time? – Always.” That’s what we all, Harry Potter fans, will answer if someone asks whether we still love HP and its brilliant cast 5 years after the final movie came out.
As for me and, I bet, for millions of other people, one very particular person has always stood out from the rest. It was Alan Rickman, our Professor Snape, who sadly is no longer with us since January 14th. I just can’t believe it. Just a couple of days ago I was enjoying his acting in Die Hard, watching it on TV, and now the great man is gone…
Alan wasn’t just a good actor, he was a great one and one of a kind. A wonderful movie- and theatre actor, writer and director, to be more precise. Somehow, he always managed to blend with his each and every character. Whether it was Hans Gruber in Die Hard or Sheriff George of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Severus Snape in Harry Potter or King Louis XIV in A Little Chaos, Harry in Love Actually or even just the voice of Blue Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. That voice! It was his distinguishing feature, for sure. British accent + intrinsic bad-boy image + somewhat an aristocratic manner of speaking. Yes, it definitely enchanted.
For the first time, I saw Alan Rickman in Die Hard, as I recall, – even though I was way younger than the recommended age of viewers, nothing and no-one could stop me from being typical me = a movies admirer since childhood – but I definitely remembered him, his character and an exciting acting, especially in the scenes with Bruce Willis aka John McClane (“Oh, yes. What was it you said to me before? ‘Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.’”), and as a result, this movie has become one of my faves since then. It isn’t a typical Christmas movie, but somehow I’m drawn to it sometime around X-mas every year.
But still, the most significant Alan’s role for me is Severus Snape. I grew up simultaneously with the kids on the screen (Daniel, Emma, Rupert, Tom…), so Professor Snape has always been a part of my life while I was reading HP books, watching movies, then waiting for the next books and movies to come out and so on throughout all those years. Because of Alan Rickman’s perfect transformation into his character, my family, my friends and I were puzzled from movie to movie – which side Snape is on: is he ‘good’ or ‘bad’?! Only a real professional manages to intrigue the audience like that while knowing the ‘true colours’ of his character from the very beginning. I’m 99.9% sure that in order to convince him to play in the movie, J.K. Rowling told Alan during their well-known conversation who Severus really was in that story – unusual and covert but still a hero (even though there was still a loooong way ‘til the last HP book was published, in which we found the whole backstory out). I immensely grateful to Joanne for that because without her persuasion a whole generation of young people might have missed (if they hadn’t watched Die Hard or Robin Hood, of course) a great talent – Alan Rickman, who has become an integral part of their lives along with the magical world of Harry Potter!
One thing I can say for sure is that I was already fascinated by him back then, in the 1st HP movie, I guess, it was my sixth sense: I knew that there was much more to his character than we were seeing (eventually, it turned out I was right).
Even though I haven’t met him personally, and now I’ll never have a chance,
one thing that warms my heart is that I’ve managed to visit Leavesden Studios (Warner Bros. Studio Tour London) and walk through the locations where the magical world was created, see places where the Great Hall, Snape’s Potions Class or Dumbledore’s office etc. were filmed, and see the costumes of all the leading and important supporting actors, and so in such a way get a taste of HP history, in which Alan Rickman played a significant role.
Watching DVD extras (behind the scenes) of the last Harry Potter has always been giving me a bittersweet feeling – so nice to see them all finishing filming, which lasted for 10 years, but at the same time I can’t hold my tears during those moments when all of the actors are tearing up while saying goodbye to the actors for whom that day was the last day on the set. I guess, now everyone will agree that that was a precious time! And now it’s going to be even harder to watch when Alan Rickman is no longer with us…
“If people want to know who I am, it is all in the work.”
– Alan Rickman
“Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.“
– Alan Rickman
Thank you, Alan, for your magic!
You will be loved and missed by us all, huge movie lovers and fans.