Alan Rickman's letters reveal how he really felt about Professor Snape
Despite enjoying an illustrious acting career spanning over 30 years, to Harry Potter fans the legendary Alan Rickman will always be Hogwarts' genius Potions Master, Professor Severus Snape. Now, two years after his death, it seems that Rickman still has a few more Potter secrets to reveal, as a new collection of letters and notes written by the late thespian show.
The letters are part of a bundle of personal papers going on sale at auction, which have been collectively valued at over one million dollars. However, while many of the documents are scripts or even Christmas cards, there are a few that give us an insight into the making of the Harry Potter films - and more specifically, into Rickman's own uncertainty over where his character fitted into the humongous franchise.
In one letter, Harry Potter producer David Heyman sends a personal message of thanks for Rickman's involvement in The Chamber of Secrets. In doing so, he also sheds a light into Rickman's own mindset towards the role: "Thank you for making HP2 a success. I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant."
Another note, this time written by Rickman himself and entitled Inside Snape’s Head, made clear that creative differences were par for the course. Written during work on The Half Blood Prince, it hinted that he may have been unhappy at times with the decisions being made by the senior production team: “It’s as if David Yates [the director] has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal.”
However, it seems clear that Rickman needn't have worried. In fact, Harry Potter creator JK Rowling was so impressed with Rickman's work she reached out to him in a touching note sent after the premiere of the last film, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2: "Had to send a line about what you wrote in the souvenir programme for Hallows II. Made me very tearful. Thank you for doing justice to my most complex character."
Others items in the collection, which is being sold by TV actor Neil Pearson, include messages from none other than Harry Potter himself - or, at least, a very young Daniel Radcliffe, who sent Rickman a handwritten postcard saying: "Dear Alan, you were fantastic in the play. See you next year. Merry xmas. Best wishes. Daniel Radcliffe."
Another famous name making an appearance in the archive is Kate Winslet, who appeared alongside him in 2014’s A Little Chaos and wrote: "Dearest Al with thanks for your guidance. I loved every second." The note echoes comments Winslet had previously made about the actor's gentle nature: "He was always a great big softy. If there was one word I could use to really describe Al, it would be kind. He was so kind."
If Alan Rickman was here today, it's undoubtable that he would have his own view to share on how the Harry Potter films will go down in history. But, instead, we will just have to remember him as the man that successfully brought Snape to life with a dark and sneering humility - because if having JK Rowling's approval isn't enough, then nothing will be.