I first came across actor Alan Rickman when I watched him play Hans Gruber in Die Hard and I thought what a deliciously evil bad guy! I think that set me off on the path of secretly rooting for the bad guy as long as he was cool and charismatic, ha!
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves came to cinemas when I was 10. I remember most of my friends fancied Kevin Costner as Robin Hood but I thought Rickman’s performance of the Sherif of Nottingham was pure genius and fell in love with him in some way right then.
When watching him in Truly Madly Deeply I had never cried through so many different emotions before. It was such a poignant, subtle performance which included humour, jealousy and expectance in such strange circumstances – a woman’s husband dies and returns as a spirit who eventually has to encourage her to move on and accept it himself. It could easily have seemed silly had the role not been so well understood and acted by Rickman.
A role which is often forgotten is Phil Allen in Blow Dry, another wonderfully camp performance from Rickman as the bad guy in a hairdressing competition. Ridiculously tongue-in-cheek and worth watching if you are feeling down. That’s what I love….Loved about him is that he could take on serious roles on stage and yet he never felt that small, strange comedy roles were below him in anyway.
I was always intrigued by the incredibly miss-understood character of Snape in Harry Potter. When the whole story played out we realised his was a deeply sad and romantic story of falling in love, being bullied, loosing that love to the bully and then loosing her completely when she is murdered and feeling like he failed to protect her. Apparently J.K Rowling let Rickman know (in part) about his characters past and told him that his character has a hidden agenda – for good, which he incorporated with tiny nuances when delivering certain lines from the very first film.
His character in Love Actually is easy to hate, a man possibly going through a mid-life crisis who doesn’t think of his wonderful wife ‘in that way’ anymore but I’m sure a million women could understand – at least a little – why his work college made it her business to seduce him – ahem.
Alan Rickman had such breadth of talent, he was also vocal about feminism, incredibly well respected and liked by his peers and had such a rich and unique voice. He could convey humour or anger or both, making you laugh with just one raise of an eyebrow. He truly was a one off.
Alan Rickman 1946 – 2016