British actor Alan Rickman, who our readers will more than likely recognize as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series, died earlier today at the age of 69.
Rickman’s death has come as a shock for many people around the world. He is noted for his work both on screen and on stage. While not his first acting gig, Rickman rose to prominence thanks to his performance as terrorist Hans Gruber in ‘Die Hard’ (1988). Among his many roles, Rickman also played Tybalt in a 1978 adaptation of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as well as Colonel Brandon in 1995’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’.
For readers, he has a special place in many of our hearts as the man who brought J.K. Rowling’s iconic character to life for a decade in all eight Harry Potter films. Severus Snape, a seemingly villanous and bitter man, is considered to be one of the most complex and courageous characters in Rowling’s books. Alan Rickman’s masterful performance of this brilliant character is without doubt one of the better aspects of the Potter films.
With the news of his death, one of Rickman’s letters is resurfacing and circulating across the internet. It was published by Empire Magazine and written in 2011, months leading up to the release of the final Harry Potter movie, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2’. In it, Rickman briefly describes his experience playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, ending it on a touching thank you to none other than J.K. Rowling.
READ IT HERE:
In a New York Times interview, Alan Rickman talked about playing Snape on screen. “It was strange, in a way, to play stuff that was so emotional. A lot of the time you’re working in two dimensions, not three.” In a separate interview, he later said that “It’s completely staggering that she had all of that in her head… When we started she had only written three of the books so it was like trying to walk down two potential roads not at all knowing what the end would be but having some sense of what that man’s life was… I knew with Snape I was working as a double agent, as it turns out, and a very good one at that.”
Harry Potter fans will remember that Alan Rickman was one of the few people in the world who had insight into the future Harry Potter books. As the books were still being written during the movie’s production, a lot of the actors didn’t know where their characters would end up. However, J.K. Rowling trusted Alan Rickman with Snape’s backstory years before the 2007 release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
“It was quite amusing, too,” said Harry Potter producer David Heyman about Rickman. “There were times when a director would tell Alan what to do in a scene and he would say something like, ‘No I can’t do that–I know what is going to happen and you don’t… He had a real understanding of the character and now looking back, you can see there was always more going on there–a look, an expression, a sentiment–that hint at what is to come… the shadow that he casts in these films is a huge one and the emotion he conveys is immeasurable.”
As Harry Potter fans, we were certainly blessed to have such an amazing actor care so much about one of our favorite characters.