On January 14th of this year, Alan Rickman died after a very private battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 69. Fans the world over were (and are still) completely in shock. Not only was the news completely unexpected due to very few people knowing that Rickman was ill, but Alan Rickman was one of the most respected and admired actors in the entertainment industry. By all accounts, Rickman was an incredibly kind, generous, thoughtful and gracious person who formed lifelong friendships with many of his co-stars and was unfailingly kind to fans. Some of the most touching stories (about his life and how it touched others lives) coming out after his untimely death are the ones recounted by the Harry Potter cast of now adult actors. And not because his portrayal of Snape is one of the most popular in the franchise, but because he clearly treated children with a level of kindness and respect that is often surprising to hear about from adults.
As an actor, Rickman brought a gravitas and a deep sincerity to whatever role he took on. His presence alone often elevated the projects he was working on. Not only that, but it was Rickman’s skill as a performer that gave him the ability to bring such complexity to roles that could have been stock or one dimensional in the hands of less gifted actors. His performances in Die Hard and Galaxy Quest immediately come to mind. It is often noted that Rickman played villains/antagonists fairly often, likely due to his deep, measured voice (swoon) and rather severe features (see: Hans Gruber, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Rasputin, and Severus Snape), which is true, but what is also true is that Rickman gave us villains/antagonists that you couldn’t discount or look away from because his performances were mesmerizing. Rickman clearly took the clichéd actor question of “what’s my motivation” seriously when he portrayed a character. He famously asked this question of J.K. Rowling about Snape and when she told him and asked him to keep it secret, he took it to the grave.
I would argue that Alan Rickman meant so much to so many people who never knew him because of how he lived his life. Rickman seemed to be that person about whom you ask yourself “Do I want to BE Alan Rickman or do I want to be WITH Alan Rickman??” Of course the answer is BOTH. Life goals/life partner goals.
Alan is gone, before his time, but I am personally grateful that he left such a great body of work behind that we can have forever. That and dozens of life-affirming quotes that are perfect for motivational posters and tattoos (if you are into that sort of thing)!
Seriously, the man was incredibly eloquent, thoughtful, well-spoken and deep:
Rickman said, “If people want to know who I am, it is all in the work.” So how about in honor of the man we queue up our favorite Alan Rickman films and think about what a gift his life was to so many people around the world. For me, personally, that list will include: Love Actually, Sense and Sensibility, Dogma, Galaxy Quest, and the Harry Potter films.
If you need to quickly convert a skeptic to the Alan Rickman fandom (maybe first ask yourself how and why you are friends with this person?), I would recommend showing them this 7 minute video of Alan getting very upset about his tea. In slow motion. To the music score from the movie Inception. This is possibly the best acting I've seen about the very real stuggle of trying to get a decent cup of tea in this world.
Thank you Alan Rickman for sharing your gift with us. The world is a brighter place for having had you in it. You were one of a kind and, as Emma Watson said, I don't think we'll see one like you again.