One of the finest actors of our generation passed away last week when Alan Rickman died following a private battle with cancer. Most people today know him from his role as Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series, although an older generation will always love him for his role as the evil villain Hans Gruber from Die Hard.
We here at Renegade Cinema know much more than that about the great Alan Rickman. Here is a look at some Renegade Staff Picks over the career of Rickman and what our writers remember, and love the most about the great Alan Rickman.
Hard for me to pick Gruber versus Metatron. I love Die Hard so, so much but the Catholic-born, raised and educated (K through 12 baby) has to vote for Alan Rickman’s performance in Dogma as my personal favorite. Rickman brought additional gravitas to the proceedings as many have heard outlined in Jason Mewes’ stories about Jay memorizing the entire script so he wouldn’t “piss off that Rickman dude.” The actor’s deadpan delivery as the voice of God was comprised of equal parts hilarious and serious effectivity. Along with the roles of Hans Gruber and Snape as well as many other supporting roles, he will be sorely missed. Godspeed and yippee ki-yay, Mr. Rickman.
Most people will likely and understandably remember Alan Rickman as either Hans Gruber or Severus Snape. As much as I love him in both roles though, I think Galaxy Quest was where we were shown the true extent of his acting abilities. We see him play a guy who even though his career is in the toilet, does everything he can to act like a professional even at the cost of his own dignity and all while being upstaged by a clearly inferior actor. You can see every ounce of pain, resentment and humiliation in his eyes when as he utters “By Grabthar’s hammer, what a savings.”
Since Alan Rickman’s death, he’s been praised for his villainous turns, his fantasy and Sci-Fi roles but not much about two roles where he plays a romantic lead.
In 1995’s Sense and Sensibility, Rickman plays Colonel Brandon, an unmarried man who falls for the flighty Marianne Dashwood (Kate Winslet), who in true Jane Austen fashion has fallen for a man who will break her heart.
Rickman’s Brandon is trustworthy, thoughtful and in the end romantic and rescues Marianne when she needs a hero most. It’s wonderful to watch Marianne fall for the staid gentleman as he brings her flowers, reads to her in that one-of-a-kind voice and shares his estate with her family as she recovers from a case of pneumonia.
The movie ends with their wedding.
2003’s Love Actually is one of my favorite films. It shows every kind of love there is during a British holiday season.
Rickman plays Harry, head of a PR film who is married to housewife and mother of his children, Karen (Emma Thompson, who also stars as elder sister Elinor Dashwood in “Sense and Sensibility”). His is a settledily routine until a new receptionist decides Harry would be the perfect married boyfriend — maybe more. As she starts giving more and more overt suggestions to her boss about her total availably, he is taken in by the hypnotic idea of still appearing to be a sexy man by a younger, much sexier woman that his wife. He appears to be falling into a full blown mid-life crisis when he finds himself agreeing to buy her a Christmas gift. In exactly what could happen in real life, Karen finds the lovely necklace and believes her husband has bought her something unexpected and beautiful.
When she gets a Joni Mitchell CD for Christmas instead the pieces fall into place and the confrontation between Harry and Karen is heartbreaking.
Rickman’s take on Harry the moment he realizes what a fool he has been, the damage he had done not only to his marriage but to the woman he realizes he still loves is apparent on his face.
The movie ends with Harry being met by his family at the airport. He’s not sure of the reception he will get there but his wife, whose heart is badly bruised, takes him home, sadder and wiser.
Rickman’s last poignant moment as an actor may be when the dark wizard Snape answers Dumbledore’s question about his love of Harry Potter’s mother Lily.
Alan, it’s about as long as I will miss you.
Shawn S. Lealos
Of course, if I wanted to choose my favorite Alan Rickman role, it would be from Die Hard, but everyone already talks about that role. I would also choose Snape from Harry Potter or his role in Dogma. But, I would rather point out less obvious roles. For me, Rickman was just brilliant in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham He was so over-the-top and funny and his line about killing Robin Hood with a spoon was just perfectly delivered. Honestly, the guy could do damn near anything.