Thanks to his performances as the terrorist Hans Gruber in the original 'Die Hard' and the Sheriff of Nottingham in 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves' Alan Rickman is one of the quintessential screen villains. Bearing this in mind you might have thought he was better suited to the role of Lord Voldemort in this November's eagerly anticipated 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' not Professor Snape - a part that was originally to have been played by Tim Roth. But Rickman has built a career on defying his audiences expectations.
Following his success with 'Die Hard' and 'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves' he was inundated with offers to play more dastardly characters but he turned them down in favour of films like 'Truly Madly Deeply', 'An Awfully Big Adventure' and more recently 'Dogma' and 'Galaxy Quest'. In fact his decision to become an actor in the first place might have seemed unexpected at the time because it meant leaving the successful design agency he had set up to become a student at RADA at the not so tender age of 27.
While at RADA he supported himself working as a dresser for Nigel Hawthorne and Sir Ralph Richardson and left after winning every student award going. A long career in the theatre followed but he never really rose to prominence until he played the role of Valmont in the stage version of Les Liason Dangereuses in the West End and then on Broadway. This brought him to the attention of Hollywood and lead him to land the role of Hans Gruber in 'Die Hard'.
As an actor he brings a great deal of intelligence and invention to every role he plays, he effortlessly steals movies and acts most of his co-stars off the screen. As a person he is moved by a high degree of social concern, in fact his wife Rima Horton stood as a Labour Parliamentary candidate, but his social conscience is motivated less by a political agenda and far more by the deep seated sympathy he has for his fellow human beings. You might say it is this sympathy that allows him to play so many different characters with such unerring accuracy.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your
character Professor Snape?
Q: In the earlier part of your life you were
also in a profession that you wanted to get out of so you could become something
else that people would respect more, do you think this was the element of
yourself that you brought to the part of Snape?
Q: Professor Snape is also a Quidditch referee,
does that mean you've now mastered all of the game's rules?
Q: This first Harry Potter movie has a mainly
British cast even though it's a Hollywood film, you've been quite outspoken on
the problems with the British film industry, was it refreshing to be working
with so many fellow Brits?
Q: So what is it like to be a British actor
working mainly in Hollywood then?
Q: Director Chris Columbus said his young
daughter Eleanor was a great help as an unofficial consultant on the film
because she was such a big fan of the Harry Potter books. Did you have any young
Q: Or attend a school for wizardry and
Q: Alan thank you very much for your and good
luck with the film.
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