Everyone has their favourite Alan Rickman character, depending on their age and genre preferences. In his 30-plus year career, the distinguished Brit brought wit and charm to screen villainy, in his definitive role as Hans gruber in Die Hard, and with a new generation of audiences in the Harry Potter franchise. But there was so much more to his storied career.
As we all absorb the sad news of his untimely death, take a dive back into the Movie Show archives, to watch Margaret and David review his films, and converse with the man himself.
Margaret: "David , I loved every nail-biting minute of it!”
Quigley Down Under
Ah yes, the infamous spaghetti western transposed in the Australian outback. It starred Tom "Magnum" Selleck as American sharpshooter Quicgley hired by a ruthless Australian rancher (Rickman) to shoot Aboriginal people (...yes, you read that correctly). When the macabre nature of the job offer is revealed, Quigley is less than keen to start work. An entertaining "goodies vs baddies" film, helped by Alan Rickman as the villain, according to Margaret:
Truly Madly Deeply
Truly Madly Deeply is Anthony Minghella's bittersweet weepie, about a woman (Juliet Stevenson) struggling to recover from the death of her soulmate. Rickman returns as a ghost, to piss her off and help her move on. (Margaret found Rickman's performance "terrific". David got "a bit irritated with Alan Rickman, but then I guess you're supposed to.")
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
Who better than Alan Rickman to play the Sheriff of Nottingham? His exchange with Kevin Costner, in which he threatens to cut his heart out with a spoon, because "it's dull, you twit, it'll hurt more", is legendary. David and Margaret were typically split about the film - and Rickman's performance:
David: "There's a genuinely appalling performance from Alan Rickman who makes the Sheriff of Nottingham a figure of burlesque, rather than a menace. Just think back to the way Basil played in the Errol Flynn version and and you'll see how far off the mark Rickman is."
Margaret wholeheartedly disagreed: "I love Rickman, I think people can be a bit reverential about Basil Rathbone, this is another film, they're not trying to remake a version."
David: "But I think the problem is the villain is just ridiculous, he's not a villain that Robin Hood could come up against in any sort of menacing way, he's not a menace to Robin 'cause he's a buffoon."
Margaret: "He 's not a buffoon! [...] I also like the humour in his dialogue." "I loved it."
Close My Eyes
This incestuous oddity starred Clive Owen as a man obsessed with his sister, played by Saskia Reeves, who is married to Rickman. Margaret liked the movie, even though she had trouble believing in the incest: "Who would turn your back on Alan Rickman?!," exclaims Margaret, "he's fabulous in this film, he's the best thing about it!"
An Awfully Big Adventure
This film centers on a young woman joining a small theatre troupe in Liverpool after World War II, during the winter production of a Peter Pan play, who finds herself entangled in a web of sex and intrigue. Alan Rickman plays a brilliant actor haunted by the war, who is brought in to perform Captain Hook and embarks on an affair with the young woman.
Sense and Sensibility
This Ang Lee's adaptation of Jane Austen's novel (written by Emma Thomson) features a star-studded cast including Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Emma Thomson and Alan Rickman, who plays Colonel Brandon, one of the suitors of one of the three daughters of recently widowed Fanny Dashwood. David found "a lot of humour, passion" in this "thoroughly enjoyable film".
The Winter Guest
Rickman's directorial debut stars his close friend and ally, Emma Thompson, who plays a widow determined to leave Scotland for Australia with her son, but interrupted by a visit from her ageing mother (played by Thomson's real life mother Phyllida Law). Here is an interview of Alan Rickman from The Movie Show:
And the review:
This dark noir comedy paired Rickman with Thomson, playing a team of US cops investigating a kidnapping. Best thing about it is their banter.
Rickman played Metatron, the Voice of God, because of course he did. "Alan Rickman really enlivens this film," says Margaret of Kevin Smith's controversial movie about the cosmic battle between good and evil.
Upon learning of Rickman's death, Kevin Smith posted a tribute on his Facebook page today:
Here are sound bites of Kevin Smith and his cast, including Rickman, at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival:
This hilarious Star Trek spoof stars Alan Rickman as one of the cast members of a space opera TV show who, twenty years after the series last aired, find themselves facing a real-life alien invasion at a fanclub convention. David particularly liked Rickman's wonderful performance as a half reptile, half man who, as a classically trained actor, despises his role. "Rarely have I heard a group of critics laugh so much, for so long in a movie," said Margaret, "Galaxy Quest is simply delicious fun."
Harry Potter and the Pilosopher's Stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone marks the first installment of the cult franchise, and thus the debut of the sinister professor Severus Snape, a figure of "sardonic malevolence," according to David:
In this drama, Rickman plays a broken man with a dark past. When he reluctantly gives a ride to a young hitchhiker, the two have a car accident, in which the young woman gets killed. The man decides to meet and help the girl's mother (Sigourney Weaver), a highly functional autistic woman with whom he strikes an unlikely friendship.
Sweeney Todd Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tim Burton's adaptation of the Burton musical saw Rickman give a chilling performance as Turpin, the corrupt judge who accused young Sweeny Todd of murder and sends him to jail, so that he can give free reign to his lust for Sweeney's young and beautiful wife. Fifteen years later, Sweeney is back in London, and he's not happy... As Rickman described in the interview below, "There'll be lots of people getting killed and blood spraying all over the place."
And the review:
A Little Chaos
A Little Chaos is the last movie directed by Rickman and stars Kate Winslet as a landscape artist hired to build a garden in King Louis XIV's palace at Versailles, and who falls in love with renowned landscaper André Le Notre (Matthis Schoenaert). The Feed's Marc Fennell interviewed the man with the unmistakable voice: