Alan Rickman played a prank on Daniel Radcliffe
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The late great Alan Rickman would have been 75-years-old today had he not sadly died of cancer in 2016. Born to a working-class family in Acton, West London, he trained at RADA and went on to become a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company before heading on to Hollywood stardom. To celebrate his incredible career we look back at Rickman’s greatest movie roles from Harry Potter to Die Hard.
Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films
Rickman played strict Potions master Snape across all eight Harry Potter films from 2001 to 2011, who – despite his cold and dark appearance – turned out to be a double agent working against Lord Voldemort.
Author JK Rowling once described Snape as “a gift of a character” and famously confided in Rickman the Slytherin housemaster’s secret backstory that was revealed in the final book.
Four days after his death, she tweeted: “I told Alan what lies behind the word ‘always’.
Harry Potter fans will remember the scene Rowling is referencing – arguably Rickman’s best moment in the series – from the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Following Snape’s death, Harry is given access to his memories and comes to see that his most hated teacher had actually always cared for him deeply.
Hans Gruber in Die Hard
Rickman’s role in the 1988 action classic, which is definitely a Christmas movie, set him up as one of the greatest Hollywood villains of all time.
A cold criminal, Gruber and his team hold hostages ransom at the Nakatomi Plaza while Bruce Willis’ John McClane swoops in to save the day.
As for Rickman’s best moment, it has to be the shot of him falling to his death – one that was more real than films fans might have first thought.
The Die Hard baddie agreed to do the fall for real from 25 feet down to an airbag; so had to prepare himself mentally for the stunt. However, on the first take, Rickman was released earlier in the countdown to capture his real shock reaction to the fall.
George, Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Another memorable villain Rickman played was this malicious medieval baddie.
The late star so impressed audiences that he went on to win a Best Actor BAFTA for the role opposite Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood.
Rickman’s most memorable scene has to be the line of dialogue he rolls off when the Sheriff goes through everything he says will be banned until Robin Hood is caught.
He rants: “Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings and call off Christmas!”
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Harry in Love Actually
In Christmas rom-com favourite Love Actually, Rickman played Harry the adulterous husband opposite Emma Thompson’s Karen
Perhaps his best-remembered scene is the one with Rowan Atkinson’s character, who takes forever to wrap up the necklace for Harry’s love interest while Karen is lurking nearby.
Back in 2015, Love Actually director Richard Curtis’ partner Emma Freud responded on Twitter to a question regarding what happened after Karen found out about Harry’s affair.
She replied: “They stay together but home isn’t as happy as it once was.”
Curtis did toy with the idea of a Love Actually sequel, but ended up making a 10 minute follow up for the Red Nose Day charity instead; one which didn’t feature Thompson’s Karen since it was made after Rickman’s death.
Speaking with Empire magazine in 2017, the director said: “I did toy with the idea of doing a proper Love Actually sequel.
“But I wonder what I think now about love because I’ve experienced a lot of deaths and illness.
“I think therefore I would make a sadder film, and I’m not sure that would be great.”
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