Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alan Rickman Appreciation

By Sati. Thursday, February 21, 2013
Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman
February 21, 1946 (Hammersmith, London, England, UK)

I’m never really looking for anything. I’m looking to be surprised and to have one’s instincts engaged with a piece of writing rather than anything planned. I think if you make decisions before you read something, then you’re not free. I’d much rather just turn page one and start to get a flavor of a character. That’s what an actor is, I think. You’re a bundle of instincts that you fling at something called training, and you hope training orders it a bit for you so that you can make choices, but ultimately you’re dependent on your instincts and your imagination, and that’s something you can’t pin down.

Today is 67th birthday of a man who needs no introduction, a man who gave us some of the greatest characters in the history of cinema. Alan Rickman. He was in many of my favorite movies and he was a big part of their appeal - he can play the most amazing heroes, villains and sometimes both of those over the course of one film.

Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility, adorable Marvin in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the angel in Dogma, Hans Gruber in Die Hard, sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood and finally - Severus Snape in Harry Potter series. Each of these characters is different, each memorable and each elevating the movie in its very own, unique way. Would I enjoy Harry Potter films as much as I did without Rickman's Snape? Would Sense and Sensibility be as romantic without his Brandon? Of course not.
Rickman was also in a whole bunch of movies that are little known and contain some of his best performances - the role of a husband trapped in complicated, only seemingly happy, marriage in terrific Dark Harbor, the role of a torturer in criminally under seen Closet Land and finally his enchanting work in beautiful Snow Cake. Then there is his terrific work in TV movies - Rasputin, detailing the time infamous Grigori rose to fame on Russian court and Something the Lord Made, chronicle of cardiologist Alfred Blalock's efforts to cure the devastating heart problem of Tetralogy of Fallot, also known as Blue Baby Syndrome. The first one brought him Golden Globe, SAG Award and Emmy wins, the second - Emmy nomination.

Rickman as another one of my absolutely favorite actors - Ralph Fiennes - has this amazing ability to be completely menacing (Closet Land, Harry Potter series, Die Hard, Robin Hood) and hilarious on screen - he can even be hilarious while being menacing, which is probably why his villains are so iconic. And then we have Dogma, Galaxy Quest, Bottle Shock, Blow Dry - in those and in many others he shows that he has a perfect comedic timing and there is simply noting he cannot do.

There are many things I don't understand when looking back at awards history. The wide Harry Potter series snub is one of the things I will never understand. And Rickman's performance as Snape, especially in the last two movies of the series, is the finest performance in Harry Potter films, already filled with such amazing work from the cast. Short screen time? Oh, don't give me that. Years later people will look back, see there was no major nominations for the movie and for Rickman and they will yell "WHAT?!"

I don't even have to mention his voice, right? And let's not forget a real treat for all of us girls - Rickman's appearance in Texas's video for In Demand.

67 years old. We'd still hit that.
10 Best performances: 
Harry Potter series
Rasputin
Sense and Sensibility (below)
Dark Harbor
Closet Land
Something the Lord Made
Die Hard
Snow Cake
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Mesmer

15 Best films:
Love Actually
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2
Sense and Sensibility 
Sweeney Todd: The Damon Barber of Fleet Street
Dark Harbor 
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Snow Cake
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Something the Lord Made
Closet Land (below)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Rasputin
Dogma
Galaxy Quest
An Awfully Big Adventure

5 Favorite scenes:
Snape finds Lily in Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows part 2
"Give me something to do or I shall run mad" in Sense and Sensibility
The argument in the kitchen in Dark Harbor
The final surgery in Somthing the Lord Made
Page 394 in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
13 fun facts:
  •  Has been in a relationship with Rima Horton since 1965. 
  •  Although a highly successful film actor, he has frequently passed up film offers to return to the theater. (A place and activity which he calls "magical" and his "first love".)
  • Was given the role of Professor Severus Snape in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) only after Tim Roth backed out.
  • Is the second of four children in his family. He has an older brother, a younger brother, and a younger sister.
  • For the shot where Hans Gruber falls from the top of the building in Die Hard (1988), was actually dropped by a stuntman from a 20-foot high model onto an air bag. To get a genuine surprised look, the stunt man dropped him on the count of two instead of three.
  • Three of the Harry Potter films also feature Warwick Davis as Professor Flitwick. In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Rickman and Warwick Davis play the same part. Warwick Davis wore the robotic suit for Marvin, while Rickman provides the voice.
  • Says Canada is like a second home.
  • Failed his California driving test at one point for "driving too cautiously through a green light"
  • He is 11 years older than Timothy Spall, 12 years older than Adrian Rawlins and Gary Oldman, 17 years older than David Thewlis, and 21 years older than Geraldine Somerville. Nevertheless, the character that the six of them play in the Harry Potter films are meant to be contemporaries and former classmates.
  • Was J.K. Rowling's personal favorite to play Severus Snape.
  • Was Richard Curtis's choice to play Charles in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). Curtis was very hesitant in casting Hugh Grant as he had so wanted Rickman.
  • For Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), he turned down the role of the Sheriff twice before he was told he could more or less have carte-blanche with his interpretation of the character.
  • Chosen by Empire Magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#83)
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35 comments:

  1. Yaay, Happy Birthday indeed.

    He was a wonderful Snape and is one of my favourite antagonist playing actors.

    His voice too is brilliant. I dream of the day when he will play Benedict Cumberbatch's father in a film and it will be just about them.

    Been in a relationship since 1965?! Wtf. That just makes me feel loads better.

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    1. His Snape is just amazing. It was also a big commitment on Rickman's part - I think he was one of the very few who was in on a big secret and he managed to keep it all these years.

      Oh God, that would be fantastic!

      Yeah, it's pretty amazing - with same women all those years. Beautiful!

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  2. Failed his California driving test at one point for "driving too cautiously through a green light" --- WHAT? hahaha!

    how delightfully british of him to keep doing theatre. oh and what a voice he has indeed... have you heard him reciting shakespeare? unbearable!

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    1. Yeah I laughed at that too :P I did, I nearly fainted ^^ I'd watch him read a phone book :D

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  3. Fantastic tribute to one of my favorite actors, Sati!!! LOVE Rickman in practically every role he's done. I think my top 3 fave roles of his are Col. Brandon, Severus Snape and Galaxy Quest! I also love him as Hans Gruber, I mean every other Die Hard villains are lame compared to him. Oh I'd have loved to see him in Four Weddings and a Funeral, I'm sure he'd be awesome!

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    1. I had a feeling you will like this one :P He was so funny in Galaxy Quest, him and Sam Rockwell totally stole the show in this one.

      Hugh Grant was really adorable in that but I think Rickman would be even better, he is so great in romantic comedies. I adore his performance in Love Actually. Him and Emma Thompson always have such enchanting chemistry.

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    2. Your post inspired me to watch Sense & Sensibility again last night, just the Brandon scenes ahah, and thankfully there are many. Rickman is sooo lovely! Funny that he's in that film w/ Hugh Grant but didn't really share a scene together until the end at the double wedding. He has such a lovely chemistry w/ Emma Thompson, their segment in Love, Actually is my favorite!!

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    3. Awesome! I love his scenes his love for Marianne is so moving. I cannot believe she shot him down at first!

      Their story in Love Actually was so bittersweet, they both acted so well in that movie. But my favorite is still Bill Nighy :)

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  4. Happy birthday to one of my favourite actors (that I haven't seen enough films of). So great to see him featured here - I will never get over the Harry Potter snub.

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    1. Academy sucks so bad. Well at least he got a win from me last year and there was no competition there :) You should see more of his films, he is amazing in every single one.

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  5. I want to rub this post all over me. That is how much I love Alan Rickman! I actually really want to see Dark Harbor, I've only seen the ending. I'd like to see how it all plays out.

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    1. Haha, thank you! :) Oh yeah that ending is pretty famous among his fans :)

      The film is definitely worth seeing, him and Polly Walker are amazing in it and the movie has very mysterious, disturbing atmosphere.

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  6. Tim Roth as Snape? Nope! Never in a million years would have that worked. I also liked Rickman in Love Actually, he was such a complicated character in that movie - and I still loved him despite his flaws.
    You forgot his dramatic tea drinking... I think he's acting skills come out extremely well in a slow motion, such a brilliant man!
    PS: 67!?!?!? Fuck that shit, he looks fucking awesome! (Sorry about all the bad words)

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  7. As much as I like Roth I just don't see him in it. Rickman was just destined to played Snape and no wonder Rowling was so overjoyed when the part went to him. It's also remarkable how in spite of huge age difference Rickman became Snape, I swear he looks 20 years younger than he actually is in those movies.

    Haha, yeah that's a good point!

    Oh no apology needed, it's what everyone is probably thinking :P

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  8. The fact that he wasn't nominated for Sense and Sensibility irks the hell out of me!

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    1. True, especially with all the Oscar attention movie got! :(

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  9. Alan Rickman. Is there anything he can't do? One of my favorite performances from him is in the movie Truly, Madly, Deeply which is still my favorite film from Anthony Minghella. He plays the ghost of his dead lover as he helps her try to move on and such. He does it with such sensitivity.

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    1. I actually haven't seen this one yet, the only ones of his I have yet to see are his early films.

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  10. I'm surprised he didn't get nominated for Die Hard. If that came out today, he'd probably get nominated, since the Academy has been nominating a lot of villains lately.

    But, yeah, his best performance is Snape. Maybe he'll get an Honorary Oscar one of these days. :)

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    1. Absolutely. Back then there were doing that pretty rarely but lately it seems that most of the wins even are villains.

      I hope so! :)

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  11. Fantastic post! I love Rickman too, and sadly, he wasn't even on my radar until the first Harry Potter movie was released. I really want to rewatch that version of Sense & Sensibility.

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    1. Thank you! I think I watch Sense and Sensibility every few months, it's such a lovely film.

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  12. Also a big fan and to add to the appreciation can I link to a post I did on him a while ago?

    http://www.myfilmviews.com/2011/10/14/the-many-faces-of-alan-rickman/

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    1. Great! I'll check out your post today!

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  13. Hans Gruber is still, hands down, one of the best film villains. And he looks damn good for 67!

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  14. Don't know much of Rickman aside as Snape, but he was great as him. He's a Pisces, I should know. He look like he belongs in theater though

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    1. Why do you think he belongs in theater? Glad you liked his Snape!

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    2. Well he seems pretty intense in HP, and have a serious vibe on acting

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  15. Had it not been for Rickman, Prince of Thieves would have been a totally unfun film to watch. Rickman in Galaxy Quest was hilarious! Is there a film genre this man can't do? No. Fab Brit actor.

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    1. Absolutely, for me he was the only thing that kept me watching.
      Galaxy Quest always makes me laugh, such a funny film!

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  16. Reason #1 why Die Hard has never been as successful since the first film, Alan Rickman. Awesome villain.

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    1. Absolutely! He was both hilarious and menacing. That's a rare craft.

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  17. Awesome post, Sati! Your blog is so awesome, I love the look. Alan Rickman is so amazing, and I really like that piece of Die Hard trivia. I need to re-watch Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Galaxy Quest. I should just see all of his movies, haha.

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    1. Thank you so much! These two are so funny, I love Marvin <3

      They are certainly worth seeing, his work is always fantastic.

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