Alan Rickman was one of the world's finest actors. Beyond his talent, though, stories about Rickman prove he was also one of the funniest and most generous men in film. Many of Rickman's equally-high-profile costars have come forward to discuss memories of him on the set. These recollections reveal his marvelous complexity and depth, good humor, and unfettered kindness.
Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman was born in London in 1946. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company before achieving his big break in the 1985 stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Movie stardom soon followed, with roles in films as varied as Sense and Sensibility, Love Actually, and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. However, the Harry Potter movie franchise resulted in what was perhaps his most famous role, Severus Snape.
Rickman passed in 2016. According to The Guardian, in 2022 Canongate will publish Rickman's 27 diaries as one book. The diaries, which he started writing by hand in the 1990s, contain his thoughts on acting, politics, theater, and more, as well as behind-the-scenes stories from the Harry Potter franchise and other films. Until those stories come to light, celebrate his life and work with this collection of his costars' reminiscences from the set.
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He Regularly Invited Kids To The 'Harry Potter' Set
Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter films, remembered how Rickman's big heart was seemingly at odds with his serious reputation and his infamous stern appearance. His softer side was evident in some of his actions regarding guests he invited to the set.
Of this lesser-known side of Rickman, Lynch told Entertainment Weekly:
Alan was a Method actor, so we were all pretty much terrified of him on set... But the memory that sticks out to me was we were allowed to bring guests [to the set]... Alan Rickman, pretty much every day of filming, he had a whole troop of little children [visiting]. It was the most bizarre scene to see Snape in this black robe... surrounded by all these happy little children who were just chatting away to him.5,99640Does this make you miss him?
- Photo: G Holland / Shutterstock.com2
He Protested When The Crew Of 'Rasputin' Didn't Get A Decent Lunch
Rickman won a Golden Globe for his performance in the 1996 telefilm Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny. During filming, Rickman was anything but a dark servant. As costar Ian McKellan, who played Tsar Nicholas II, remembered in a Facebook post, "He discovered that the local Russian crew was getting an even worse lunch than the rest of us. So he successfully protested."
Rickman also stood up for McKellan, who was reportedly being picked on by the director during filming. As McKellan recalled:
On my first day before the camera, he didn't like the patronizing, bullying tone of a note which the director gave me. Alan, seeing I was a little crestfallen, delivered a quiet, concise resume of my career and loudly demanded that the director up his game.5,72635Does this make you miss him?
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When A Child With Cancer Visited The 'Harry Potter' Set, Rickman Got Him A Role
Paula DuPré Pesmen produced the first three Harry Potter movies. She remembered how Rickman not only welcomed a child with advanced cancer to the set of Prisoner of Azkaban, but also made sure the boy had a small part in the movie.
Of the experience with Rickman, DuPré Pesman told the Huffington Post:
Alan [kind] of went into his Snape-mode in costume, and said, 'Why isn’t this child in the film?' Everyone had a good laugh, and Alan took him by the hand and put him into the crowd of kids as they were panning across. The back of him is actually in a shot.4,82717Does this make you miss him?
- Photo: G Holland / Shutterstock.com4
He Used His 'Harry Potter' Paychecks To Treat Friends And Colleagues To Dinner
Rickman became known among his friends and colleagues for frequently treating those around him to dinner, whether on set or off. Kate Winslet wrote about an anecdote she heard at his memorial service for Entertainment Weekly:
At Al's memorial, Juliet Stevenson told the story of how whenever Al would go out to supper, and anyone else would try and pay, he would somehow have phoned ahead or slipped his credit card ahead of the meal, so no one even got a look at the check. He'd just say, "I’ve got two words for you: Harry Potter." And he became known for doing that.4,56033Does this make you miss him?