When beloved British actor Alan Rickman died in January 2016, fans were devastated. While he was best known in later years for portraying Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film franchise, he’d had a long career before that. This earned him fans spanning generations, from those who saw him perform on stage, where he established himself, to audiences who were first introduced to him following his appearance in Die Hard (1988).
Along with his immense legacy, Rickman left behind his personal journals which have now been published as Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman. The biography includes many surprising revelations about his time filming the Harry Potter films, and it only adds to the interesting revelations that have occurred following the actor’s passing.
What did Alan Rickman think of Severus Snape’s costume?
Throughout his years filming the Harry Potter series, Alan Rickman had plenty of things to say about his role as Severus Snape. When production kicked off on the first film, he was greatly affronted by certain costume deliberations for his character: “A hat has been made for Snape. A hat? For Snape?”
Fortunately for him, this didn’t make it into the film.
Severus Snape’s death may have looked very different
The director for the final film, David Yates, was contemplating killing Severus Snape with a spell, something Alan Rickman was extremely unhappy about. “David Y stubborn as ever about V[oldemort] killing me with a spell (Impossible to comprehend, not least the resultant wrath of the readers),” he wrote.
After this idea was abandoned and the character’s death was filmed, Rickman commented that the scene was “unsettling.”
Opinionated remarks about the cast and crew
Alan Rickman certainly didn’t shy away from discussing the cast and crew he worked with on Harry Potter – and he wasn’t always complimentary when he talked about them. He worked with Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint when they started the franchise as young actors.
He commented, “These kids need directing. They don’t know their lines and Emma’s diction is this side of Albania at times, and said of Radcliffe in the later years, “He’s so concentrated now. Serious and focused – but with a sense of fun. I still don’t think he’s really an actor but he will undoubtedly direct/produce.”
Praise for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Alan Rickman’s opinions of the cast and crew weren’t entirely negative, and he had many positive things to say about Alfonso Cuarón, the third film’s director. The actor sang his praise of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, writing, “It is a very grown-up movie, so full of daring that it made me smile and smile. Every frame of it is the work of an artist and a storyteller.”
Alan Rickman considered leaving the Harry Potter franchise
Perhaps one of the most shocking revelations from Alan Rickman’s book is that the iconic actor wanted to leave the Harry Potter films before the series was completed. In the lead-up to filming Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 2000, Rickman wrote that he was “feeling a bit nothing about HP, which really disturbs me.”
By the time the second movie, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), had been released, his opinions had darkened. “Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it,” he wrote, clearly trying to get out of the franchise.
However, by 2005, while receiving treatment for prostate cancer, his opinion had changed yet again. “Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story.'”
A non-Harry Potter-related revelation about Alan Rickman
Three years after Alan Rickman’s death, Doug Naylor, creator of the sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf (1988-99), spoke to The Guardian and revealed that the late actor had been in the running to appear on the show. In the interview, he shared how much Rickman loved the script upon reading it, but that Craig Charles and Chris Barrie meshed better.
“Alan Rickman and Alfred Molina liked the script so we considered casting them as Rimmer and Lister,” he explained. “Rickman wanted to be Lister because he thought playing Rimmer would be too easy. In the end, Craig Charles and Chris Barrie just seemed a better double act.”
Charles also commented on getting the role over Rickman, saying, “I don’t think Alan Rickman and Alfred Molina lost too much sleep over not getting cast. They went off to fantastic film careers and here I am peddling this old mining ship in space.”
We don’t think Rickman lost much, if any, sleep over not securing the role of David “Dave” Lister, either, as he appeared in the action blockbuster Die Hard, alongside Bruce Willis, the same year the series debuted on BBC.