Alan Rickman is a beloved actor and among a certain generation, will always be best known for playing the brooding Serverus Snape in the ‘Harry Potter’ movies. But as unforgettable as he was in this iconic role, it turns out that it wasn’t always a great experience for him. A collection of letters that belonged to him are being auctioned off. The documents span his 40-year career but a couple from the ‘Harry Potter’ era point to frustration while working on the blockbuster franchise.
One of the letters came from ‘HP’ producer David Heyman, following the release of ‘Chamber of Secrets’.
“Thank you for making HP2 a success. I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.”
The note doesn’t go into specifics as to what Rickman might be “frustrated” about, but one can assume that such a respected actor may have felt his supporting role might have been under-utilized. In fact, in a letter that Rickman himself penned while working on ‘Half-Blood Prince’, entitled “Inside Snape’s Head”, he wrote:
“It’s as if David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal.”
Obviously, the ‘HP’ books are much more in-depth and many of the supporting characters are more fully fleshed-out, but in adapting them for the movies, a lot had to be sacrificed.
And it wasn’t all frustration for Rickman. In other papers included in this collection, he discussed his close friendships with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe. In fact, many actors experience frustration on film sets, especially those for big budget tentpoles like these.
Rickman died of pancreatic cancer in 2016, at the age of 69. In addition to his role in the ‘Potter’ films, he is remembered for some pretty iconic roles, like the villain Hans Gruber in ‘Die Hard’, the Sheriff of Nottingham in ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ and fittingly, frustrated actor Alexander Dane who was forced to “slum” by making appearances at sci-fi conventions, in ‘Galaxy Quest’.