Photo: Desiree Navarro/WireImage
The most tragic British loss in recent times is, of course, the passing of esteemed actor Alan Rickman. Hans Gruber to some, Professor Snape to others, the wicked supervillain from Love, Actually to all: He was a titan onscreen. And quite the little gossip hound off-screen. Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, a posthumous compilation of Rickman’s diaries, will be released by UK publisher Canongate on October 4. Rickman began writing in 1992, amounting to 26 volumes up to his death in 2016. Vulture has rounded up excerpts of Rickman being especially charming, opinionated, and candid in his writing. Below, tidbits we learned from the non-Horcrux diary of Alan Rickman.
He was attempted about taking on the role of Snape.
On August 23, 2000, Rickman accepted his role in the first Harry Potter film. The next day, he writes that he was “feeling a bit nothing about HP which really disturbs me.”
Hey really didn’t like the iconic Harry Potter theme music.
He writes that the first movie “acquires a scale and depth that matches the hideous score by John Williams” on the night of the premiere.
He loved Prisoner of Azkaban, though.
“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,” he writes on July 30, 2003. “Alfonso [Cuarón, director] 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.”
He was pals with Wormtail for years.
We should all be so lucky to walk into a party and have this exact initial reaction at least once in our lives: “Tim Spall (thank God).”
Helena Bonham Carter has a middle-school boy’s sense of humor.
On March 10, 2008, Rickman writes, “The line ‘take out your wand’ reduces Helena Bonham Carter to helpless mirth and will be a bit of a Waterloo come Thursday.”
Speaking of Helena Bonham Carter, Rickman was kind of a Tim Burton stan.
He calls the 2008 BAFTAs “meaningless” because they didn’t nominate Sweeney Todd. Then, he thinks the Alice in Wonderland remake was “absolutely ravishing — strange and deep and complex and beautiful.”
He was a much more rigorous movie critic in the ’90s and early aughts.
In the Line of Fire is an “unbelievable diehard rip off. Adversaries on the phone to each other, falling from a skyscraper, etc., etc.” He says he went into Last Action Hero “with no axes grinding but it’s a very bad movie …” Forrest Gump prompts a long, dark night of the soul: “I had sworn I wouldn’t go. I went and it was as horrific as I had thought but in a totally different way. A clear attempt had been made to dilute the sentimentality, but along the way the film has its cake, eats it and spits it out with Vietnam, ‘unnamed viruses,’ etc.”
He didn’t think Marvin’s Room handled the AIDS epidemic much better.
“Another of those American plays which insist that you feel something. I don’t think anger & frustration is what they had in mind. My mind feels totally shut down by the experience.”
Even his positive opinions read like digs.
Groundhog Day is “Not quite Capra. Goal has relief.”
He fed Jurassic Park Aretha’s “great gowns, beautiful gowns” treatment.
“What the hell is this plot? Great dinosaurs.”
He had the perfect critique of Quentin Tarantino before anyone else was doing it.
“Pulp Fiction — brilliant and empty. Original and repetitive. Like reading a vv classy comic — if you’re going to be a gangster, that is …”
He wasn’t charmed by Nicholas Hoult’s big break.
About a Boy is “The kind of depressing English film where single mothers and Amnesty workers are ugly people in oversized sweaters.”
He met the now–King Charles at a charity performance and thought he was okay.
“Prince of Wales is a good guy, I think.”
To some degree, he was aware of Potter Puppet Pals.
At the premiere for Deathly Hallows Part Two, he writes of “thousands screaming and singing, ‘Snape, Snape, Severus Snape… ‘”
He thought the last page of Deathly Hallows was “genius.”
He had some shady things to write about Emma Watson.
On the day of his “guillotining,” another source of distress was Watson’s diction, which was “this side of Albania at times.” In 2010, he reads in vogue that Watson’s “producers” gave her a vintage Rolex as a wrap gift. The incredulous quotation marks are his own.
Making a movie with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon in the ’90s sounds pretty fratty.
“Affleck crashes in, later Matt Damon,” he writes of filming Dogma in 1997. “The room is suddenly full of baseball caps, popping cans of water/iced tea/whatever, peeling oranges, potato chips, cigarette smoke. We bungee-jump our way through the script.”
He was not a gamer.
In 1994, he goes to his friend’s house and notes how the children are “playing Nintendo games — mere oblivion!”
He probably would have liked Stardew Valley, though.
His only entry for August 15, 1993: “All afternoon — the simple but back-breaking pleasure of creating a flower bed.”
If Alan Rickman wrote hamilton, it probably would have had way more songs about agriculture.
In 1994, on a vacation to Nevis, Rickman writes, “Alexander Hamilton Museum. I learned a bit about soil erosion and why we plant trees, not much about AH.”
He side-eyed latecomers at the theatre.
At a production of Private Lives in 2002 he notes “that Nicole Kidman & Tobey Maguire arrived half-hour late. Why come in?” Petty Prince!
He wasn’t exactly courting the press.
“Talking with journalists always leaves me feeling uneasy and a little like those tribes who don’t like having photos taken because they’re giving away their souls,” he writes in 1993.
Jimmy Kimmel Live! is a “slightly scary” place.
During a 2003 appearance to promote Love, Actually, Rickman has a joke bleeped, and to make matters worse, he was subjected to “the horrors of Toby Keith singing ‘American Soldier.’”
Liam Gallagher is “an absolute tosser as a person.”
Rickman liked his singing voice but couldn’t handle the shenanigans.
He got his rom-coms confused.
After seeing Sleepless in Seattle, Rickman writes, “Halfway through I think ‘I was in this movie.’ A posthumous editor’s footnote says, simply, “He wasn’t.”
No further questions.
And Annie Leibovitz drools.
“She’s a very good graphic designer with an even better address book.” Dig!
He went to Brian Cox’s birthday party in 1996.
Shockingly, this is one entry that has no crazy celebrity goss or scandalous takes.
He was a real-life slacker-Hamlet.
In 1994, Rickman writes, “To work or to hang around for 5 hours is the question.”
You will not guess what song he requested to be played at his funeral.