Looking back at the actor, the voice and the movies of the versatile Alan Rickman…
Sadly, Alan Rickman star of stage, screen and the telly box passed away last week.
This was such sad news for me, as Rickman has always been one of my favourite British actors. He was always a delight on-screen and his voice and his performances were more than memorable. Here is the wee list of my favourite Rickman films.
Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard – Official® Trailer [HD], TrailersPlayground HD
Die Hard was Rickman’s film debut and his first Hollywood movie. As the terrorist leader, Hans Gruber, Rickman was the perfect adversary to a police detective, John McClane (Bruce Willis). Rickman as Gruber is probably the most memorable John McClane villain in the series.
Gruber appears to be carrying out a terrorist attack taking hostages in the skyscraper where McClane’s wife is having her work Christmas party. However, behind the scenes, Gruber is also masterminding a heist there. Rickman hammed his role up and delivered in his lines in the deadpan, sardonic manner we know and love.
The scene in which Rickman and Willis’s scene meet by accident was only added after Rickman was noted to have a flair for mimicking American accents and was totally unrehearsed. It is hard to see anyone else as Gruber, so it was with some relief I learnt that Sam Neill turned this movie down.
Galaxy Quest (1999)
Galaxy Quest (1999) – HD trailer, LoveExposure
Rickman played a British Shakespearean actor, Alexander Dane in this sci-fi comedy and almost parodied himself. Rickman stars alongside another actress parodying herself, Sigourney Weaver, known for her Alien role. Dane and the cast acted in a Star Trek type tv series called Galaxy Quest where Rickman’s character was famous for his catchphrase.
18 years after the show’s demise Dane and the cast attend a convention. Rickman’s character is still frustrated as only being remembered for this role and being typecast since. At this convention, the cast is approached by some aliens who believe the show to be based on reality.
The aliens ask this acting cast for their help to save them. Rickman was excellent in this role and easily made the movie for me. Here showing his character had the same weariness and apathy as his as Gruber had with his fellow terrorists in Die Hard to more comic effect.
Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
Truly Madly Deeply (trailer), jablkovastrudla
This BBC film was directed and written by Antony Minghella. It is the first production I remember seeing Rickman star in and he’s fantastic. It tells of Nina (Juliet Stevenson) whose recently deceased boyfriend Jamie (Rickman) returns to her as a ghost, indirectly solving her rat problem. It is much better than that other romantic Ghost movie with Patrick
Swizzle Swayze. In this film, Rickman was just lovely in his romantic lead and proved that he can sing, albeit too briefly.
The scenes with Stevenson show Rickman’s versatility as an actor. I was almost in tears as Nina moved on – despite having her lover ghost boyfriend – leading that now kind of annoying hopping scene with a new date. Despite Nina’s complaints of Jamie’s annoying habits of bringing his fellow deceased buddies back to their home to watch videos, Jamie was a lot more loveable.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – Trailer, Paramount Pictures
Rickman brought his singing talent to the fore in this Tim Burton musical based on the murderous English barber Benjamin Barker. This film also starred Burton favourites Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. Rickman played Judge Turpin to Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd.
Sweeney Todd was an unfortunate role for Depp who looked almost looked like a horror version of his previous Burton-directed role of Edward Scissorhands. But luckily Rickman’s presence almost banished this image from my head. Helena Bonham Carter has shed my memories of her in A Room with a View (1985) and all her earlier costume dramas for good. Rickman sang well and was featured on the soundtrack to this film based on the Broadway musical.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) Official Trailer #1 – Kevin Costner Action Adventure, MovieclipsTrailer Vault
Memorable for that Bryan Adams tune, which I’m sure a generation are hoping I won’t name as it will be stuck in their heads on a loop. It might even lead to them putting their Lego Movie DVD on for a more awesome movie track to remember.
This film should and could be renamed as “George, Sheriff of Nottingham” because of Rickman’s accidental upstaging of Costner. As the Sheriff of Nottingham, Rickman camped his role up to almost pantomime villainy with more than a hint of sarcasm.
Easily, the best of his bad guys’ roles although he was up there with J.R. Ewing as the man we love to hate. As one of the few actual English people cast in this film set in Merrie England, Rickman’s performance is mesmerising compared with the American Robin Hood. Again it is hard to see anyone else in the role, Rickman turned the role down twice and only accepted it if he could have free rein with this character, which showed Rickman’s abilities as both a writer and a comic.
However, in all his roles Rickman always was remembered for bringing both gravitas and presence. He will be missed by all die hard Rickman fans of all ages, truly, madly and deeply…
What a Character Blogathon 2016, No 30
I added this review to the blogathon What A Character! as run by Once Upon a Screen, Outspoken and Freckled and Paula’s Cinema Club. Other posts with Rickman include this full-length Die Hard review. His cast members include Bruce Willis in Moonlighting. Johnny Depp in Ed Wood and Helena Bonham Carter in A Room with a View. Juliet Stevenson stars in Diana and Sigourney Weaver in Dave.