So, 2016 has had an extremely rough start. For the entire world, and even for me personally. In the span of less than a week, we have lost two incredibly talented music artists, David Bowie and Otis Clay. We've lost Brian Bedford, who famously played Robin Hood. And in the early hours of this morning, January 14 2016, we've lost Alan Rickman. Alan, almost very much like Robin Williams, has been the household name of several generations in multiple countries.
The uncanny and unfortunate part about all of this, is that Bowie and Rickman both died at age 69, from battling cancer. The difference is, Rickman kept his cancer secret for a very, very long time. The United Kingdom in particular must be completely devastated, seeing as their own Rickman has played some of the most memorable roles in recent film history. In 1988, he was cast as Hans Gruber in "Die Hard". In an interview that Rickman gave last year, he told reporters that he almost didn't take the position! Can you believe that? He almost didn't play one of his most famous first roles, because he looked at the script and said "What the hell is this, I'm not doing an action movie." He ended up building the entire character himself.
Some of his other famous, but less reported on roles include Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, his role as Metatron, Love Actually, and Sense and Sensibility. He is usually the antagonist in his films and stage plays, and that also rang true in one his most recent beloved roles, Snape in the Harry Potter saga.
This is where I personally fell in love with Rickman. He perfectly developed the love/hate relationship the world had for Severus Snape, and the important role he would play in the life of Harry Potter. He was slimey, greasy, and absolutely batlike. And it was perfect. For 14 years, my generation and others around me integrated Harry Potter and Snape into our lives. We gasped out loud when we sat at our desks, reading in secret as Dumbledore fell to his death from the top of the tower, and Snape was the center of it all. We cried when we saw Rickman's moving rendition of his final hours, how he set up everything because of his selfish love for Lily Potter. Rickman owned that role like he owned so many others.
When Rickman took on the role, only three of the Harry Potter books had been released, so even he did not know his character's inevitable fate. However, he later told Rowling that he had made an educated guess. Looking in hindsight, you could tell he had. There was always that twinkle in the eye, that searching look he gave, that there was more to come than anyone could have guessed. And that was the magic of Alan Rickman.
Rest in Peace Alan. You're going to be missed.