Alan Rickman fans around the world learned something from an advanced snippet of the upcoming release of the late actor’s diary. A collection of 27 journals found after his Rickman’s death, “Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman” chronicles his career. Memories from his first stint with acting on projects like his role as Valmont in “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” at the Royal Shakespeare Company, and beyond. He wrote all the way up until 2016, when he passed from pancreatic cancer.
The notes found many instances where Rickman wanted to quit his involvement in the hugely successful “Harry Potter” franchise. He felt “nothing” when it came to the films. Author J.K. Rowling divulged key plot points for Rickman’s character that he had something hopeful to hang onto. It would appear from the journal entries that she probably* made that bit up and worked it in just to keep him involved in the movie. Perhaps Rickman felt the character Snape had little to no motivation to be so unkind to Harry and the other students at Hogwarts. Knowing how Rowling likes to make stuff up when it suits her, it’s not unlikely this could have happened.
Other things that he mentioned were…disappointing. Rickman did NOT care for certain aspects of the first film. “‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone‘ acquires a scale and depth that matches the hideous score by John Williams,” he wrote. He did praise Alfonso Cuarón for “The Prisoner of Azkaban,” which turned out to be his favorite film of the bunch. “It is a very grown-up movie, so full of daring that it made me smile and smile,” Rickman said. “Every frame of it is the work of an artist and storyteller.”
Emma Watson, Jason Isaacs, Emma Thompson, and other fellow performers remembered Rickman, in touching tributes. Isaacs’ recollection struck us the most. The Lucius Malfoy actor detailed his nervousness working alongside Rickman, wondering if he could ever be just as sinister and evil as his character seemed to be while sharing the screen with him.
Everything that I did as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter films was down to Alan. When they offered me a part in the second movie, I nearly turned it down because trying to be sinister in the same film as him seemed pointless. In the end, I came up with a Malfoy designed to avoid doomed comparisons with his effortlessly terrifying Snape: Malfoy had long blond hair, a pinched, high voice and as many props as I could hide behind.
In person, though, he put paid to my intimidation on my first day: we were shooting a sequence where we watched and reacted to a Quidditch match. “This is the quaffle,” said a props man, waving a tennis ball on a stick. “And now, here come the beaters. Here they are, but the keeper blocks it and, watch out, here’s the Gryffindor seeker. And … he falls … but … HE’S GOT THE GOLDEN SNITCH!”
“I’m so sorry, Alan,” I said. “But what’s going on? What should I do?”
“No idea.” he whispered. “Do what I do. Absolutely fucking nothing.”
Who knew! The man behind the most distinctive and contemptuous drawl in theatrical history was actually completely accessible, anarchically funny, utterly in the moment on and off screen, and a consumer of music far, far more contemporary than my best-of-the-70s tastes – a point he made mercilessly in the makeup chair as my cheese-fest blasted out.
“Madly, Deeply” releases on October 18th, 2022. You can pre-order it on Amazon here.