Today the artistic world lost one of the greats: Alan Rickman.
During his career, Rickman lent his talents and voice to nearly 70 productions. He was the bad guy we all loved to hate: Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Harry the heartbreaking adulterer in Love Actually–but for me, and I think for most of my generation, he was Professor Severus Snape.
I realize that I have been outspoken about my feelings on the movie adaptations of the Harry Potter series. I have issues with them. However, there were two things I didn’t ever have issue with, and that was the casting of Hagrid and Snape.
There have been a few times in book to movie history when an actor takes on a role so perfectly that you simply can’t picture the character any other way. Meghan Fellows in Anne of Green Gables comes to mind. Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid is another. And Alan Rickman, from the first time we see him sitting at the Hogwarts Staff table, was Snape.
“JK…had persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, even though only three of the books were out at that time,” Rickman told Empire Magazine in 2011. Indeed, by the end of the seventh book we would learn that Harry was simply a player in a much bigger story–Snape’s story, some would argue. And Rickman led us there, first through the movies and then in the eyes of the reader as they read and reread the books. It is not often that a movie scene elicits more emotion from me than the written word, but the movie moment when Snape, portrayed by Rickman, holds Lily Potter’s lifeless body in the debris of her home gets me every single time.