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“These Kids Need Directing”: Alan Rickman’s Diary Entries Unveil What He Thought Of His Co-Stars
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“These Kids Need Directing”: Alan Rickman’s Diary Entries Unveil What He Thought Of His Co-Stars

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The late actor Alan Rickman was loved across the world for bringing powerful characters to life with a beautiful intensity that only he could add to the screen.

One of his most lauded roles is the mysterious, enigmatic, and brooding Potions Master Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films. Alan’s depiction of the iconic character is truly an element that brought the entire Harry Potter saga to life.

The actor passed away in 2016 at the age of 69, and his portrayal of Severus Snape is cherished by fans even today. But have you ever wondered what Alan himself thought about stepping into the shoes of the complex potions master? In the diary entries that he left behind, Alan offers insights into his personal journey and his musings on playing Severus. It offers a genuine glimpse into the man behind the magic.

Excerpts from “Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman” reveal that he wanted to leave the Harry Potter franchise in 2002.

“Talking to [agent] Paul Lyon-Maris about HP exit, which he thinks will happen,” Alan wrote in an entry dated Dec. 4, 2002, which was about a month after the release of the second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

“But here we are in the project-collision area again. Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it,” Alan wrote.

Alan Rickman’s diaries share some of the behind-the-scenes magic of Harry Potter

Image credits: Marie-Lan Nguyen

Alan decided to stick with playing the beloved character and even continued acting after being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005.

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“Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story,’” he wrote in January 2006.

He also offered his impressions about young co-stars, like Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, who shared the screen with him over the eight Harry Potter films.

“Corridor with Dan Radcliffe. He’s so concentrated now. Serious and focused – but with a sense of fun. I still don’t think he’s really an actor but he will undoubtedly direct/produce. And he has such quiet, dignified support from his parents. Nothing is pushed,” he wrote in a diary entry dated May 2, 2003.

Excerpts from “Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman” share glimpses into the heart and soul of Severus Snape

Image credits: amazon

An excerpt from July of the same year speaks about an incident where Director Alfonso Cuarón was “quietly ballistic” with Alan.

“The day got off to a fabulous start with the screen guillotining on to my head, a sudden, swift blackout followed by day-long melancholy. Alfonso was quietly ballistic with me. I love him too much to let it last too long so I wailed offset and we sorted it out,” Alan wrote. “He’s under the usual HP pressure and even he starts rehearsing cameras before actors, and these kids need directing. They don’t know their lines and Emma [Watson]’s diction is this side of Albania at times. Plus my so-called rehearsal is with a stand-in who is French.”

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Alan was all praises when it came to his views on the third film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He recalled seeing fans screaming at them as they stepped out of the car for the world premiere of the franchise’s third movie.

“Harry Potter 3. World Premiere,” he wrote on May 23, 2004. “Arriving at Radio City was like being a Beatle. Thousands of fans screamed as we got out of cars. Mostly for Daniel Radcliffe but a rush for everyone. Not to mention walking out onto the stage to 6,000.”

Alan went on to praise the film’s director for the way he put together the “very grown-up movie.”

“Alfonso has done an extraordinary job. It is a very grown-up movie, so full of daring that it made me smile and smile. Every frame of it is the work of an artist and storyteller. Stunning effects that are somehow part of the life of the film, not show-off stunts. Later back to the hotel w. Ariel Dorfman, who takes egomania to utterly charming heights. He just loves being him,” the actor wrote.

He described the death of Severus Snape in the book as a “genuine rite of passage”

Image credits: Harry Potter

Alan also penned his thoughts about turning the pages of the final Harry Potter book and finding out how his widely acclaimed character dies. His entry from July 27, 2007, provides a rare and touching insight into his thoughts about how it was written as a “genuine rite of passage.”

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“… I have finished reading the last Harry Potter book. Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus. This was a genuine rite of passage,” he wrote. “One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hang on to.”

Also recorded in his diary was a lunch he had in December 2008 with Daniel Radcliffe, during which he was struck by the realization of how the young actor had, in some ways, grown up before his eyes.

“1pm Lunch w. Dan Radcliffe at Cafe Cluny. One minute he was 12 now he’s 19. When did that happen? And he’s sensitive, articulate & smart. And owns a three-bed apt in NY,” Alan wrote on Dec. 29, 2008.

The actor watched his young co-stars, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint, mature before his eyes

Image credits: Harry Potter Clips

The actor did have some criticism about the filming of the sixth film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

“HP 6. NEW YORK. Party at the Natural History Museum. The desire to eat and even more get a drink is matched only by the need to bang the three Davids’ heads [Harry Potter producers David Heyman and David Barron, and director David Yates] against the nearest wall. I get the character development and the spiffing effects (dazzling), but where is the story????” he wrote.

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Perhaps one of the more poignant entries from Alan’s diaries is from November 2009, where he reflects on shooting the scene where Severus breathes his last breath.

“The Death of Snape. Nearly 10 years later. At least it’s just down to two actors … David is vulnerable and endearing when he’s excited. And he is by this scene. It’s the absolute example of what can happen when a couple of actors pick up a scene off the page and work with the story, the space and each other,” Alan wrote. “Stuart Craig’s boathouse [set] gave it something ironic and everlasting. As I said at one point to David – it’s all a bit epic and Japanese.”

On March 29, 2010, marked as the “LAST DAY ON HARRY POTTER,” Alan penned an entry that captured the surreal end of his decade-long journey with the Harry Potter franchise.

“All a bit hard to believe. I think even Daniel was shocked by the finality. Cameras were everywhere, it seemed (docu ones). [I am asked] ‘So how does it feel?’ Before you’ve felt it, before the feeling has a name. ‘It’s private,’ I managed, ‘and I’m not sharing it with that,’ pointing at his lens,” he wrote.

“It’s all a bit epic and Japanese,” he wrote about filming the moment Severus Snape dies onscreen

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Image credits: Harry Potter

Much like his profound character, who left a lasting impact on the audience, Alan left behind a legacy when he passed away from pancreatic cancer in January 2016.

“Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter,” Daniel Radcliffe wrote online after he passed away.

Co-star Emma Watson wrote, “I’m very sad to hear about Alan today. I feel so lucky to have worked and spent time with such a special man and actor. I’ll really miss our conversations. RIP Alan. We love you.”

Most fans agree that Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Severus Snape was “perfect”

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wj_vaughan avatar
Anyone-for-tea?
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’d be interested to know if he intended for these words to be published or whether they were his personal diaries.

sonja_6 avatar
Sonja
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Anyone who wonders if diaries stay private after a persons death doesn't understand what a diary is. All diaries are personal, and all diaries are meant to be read by others. He didn't die out of nothing. He knew he had cancer and he knew he would eventually die. If he really wanted to keep them private after his death, he would have destroyed them or asked openly for them to be destroyed. During a lifetime, diaries are private. But people who write diaries and don't destroy them want them to be their legacy. They want to narrate their lives as they see it, so that those who inherit them know what they felt from their own point of view. People who write diaries feel the urge to communicate with someone, but on their own terms and as a remnant of who they were. Many people already wrote that diaries itself are like children a shot at immortality, an attempt to leave something behind when you die. That wouldn't work if no one was to read them would it?

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apatheistaccount2 avatar
Apatheist Account2
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The best actor I ever saw, and was privileged to see him live on stage. It was his ability to be perfectly still when required that stood out for me. Completely stole Robin Hood from Costner.

tucker_cahooter avatar
Tucker Cahooter
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I thought about keeping a diary but then I realised that "The Diary of a Nobody" has already been taken

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wj_vaughan avatar
Anyone-for-tea?
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I’d be interested to know if he intended for these words to be published or whether they were his personal diaries.

sonja_6 avatar
Sonja
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Anyone who wonders if diaries stay private after a persons death doesn't understand what a diary is. All diaries are personal, and all diaries are meant to be read by others. He didn't die out of nothing. He knew he had cancer and he knew he would eventually die. If he really wanted to keep them private after his death, he would have destroyed them or asked openly for them to be destroyed. During a lifetime, diaries are private. But people who write diaries and don't destroy them want them to be their legacy. They want to narrate their lives as they see it, so that those who inherit them know what they felt from their own point of view. People who write diaries feel the urge to communicate with someone, but on their own terms and as a remnant of who they were. Many people already wrote that diaries itself are like children a shot at immortality, an attempt to leave something behind when you die. That wouldn't work if no one was to read them would it?

Load More Replies...
apatheistaccount2 avatar
Apatheist Account2
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The best actor I ever saw, and was privileged to see him live on stage. It was his ability to be perfectly still when required that stood out for me. Completely stole Robin Hood from Costner.

tucker_cahooter avatar
Tucker Cahooter
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I thought about keeping a diary but then I realised that "The Diary of a Nobody" has already been taken

Load More Comments
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