In Praise of Alan Rickman

Here in the US, Masterpiece on PBS recently presented The Song of Lunch  starring Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson.  A BBC dramatization of Christopher Reid’s poem, the program was unique, in my (Victoria, here) view.  Poetry.  On tv.  Brilliant acting. Emma.  And Alan. Sigh.

I consider myself a charter member of the Alan-Rickman-can-do-no-wrong Club. Though he has been cast in some unsavory roles, to me he is always a hero.  As “he” in The Song of Lunch, Rickman portrays a self-pitying character who meets a former lover (Thompson) in an unsuccessful encounter for which he had some unrealistic expectations.

By the way, Alan, I am available for lunch in Soho almost any time — just e-mail me right here. And figure in enough time for me to fly across the pond — and have my hair done.

Sad to say, I haven’t kept up with the character development of Severus Snape, the role that most young people will associate most with Rickman.  He was a villain early on, but I believe he evolved into a very good guy in Harry Potter’s world. 

Villain-wise, however, I choose the Sheriff of Nottingham in the 1991 film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.  There’s a dastardly fellow we can all love.  If we can stop laughing long enough.

And just about my favorite of Rickman’s many film roles is that of Col. Brandon in the 1996 version of Sense & Sensibility, a role that forever altered my view of Jane Austen’s first published novel. Until I saw — and heard — Rickman wooing Marianne and confessing to Elinor, I had felt only moderate interest in and compassion for Brandon.  But now I can never think of Brandon without seeing and hearing Alan Rickman.  Which makes Marianne’s obsession with the shallow Willoughby even more foolish — and her reluctance to immediately adore Brandon almost impossible to accept. That’s one of the drawbacks to watching filmed versdions of favorite novels, isn’t it?  Can anyone think of Darcy again without seeing Colin Firth?

I think I read that Rickman is bound for Broadway soon — so Alan, maybe we could have that luncheon in New York?  Just name that date!! 

I am expecting to have to arm-wrestle a few of our regular readers to win this encounter.  I’m ready!!

But wait, there’s  more!  Gambit will be coming out soon (?).  A remake of the 1966 Michael Caine/Shirley MacLaine caper film, this new version stars Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci and Cameron Diaz, among others.  The Coen Brothers are involved — but I couldn’t find a set release date. 2012 is all I found. Let’s hope it is as soon as possible!!

10 thoughts on “In Praise of Alan Rickman”

  1. I love Alan Rickman too — great voice. I didn't realize until recently that I saw him in a play in 1976 at the Edinburgh Festival. I was looking at old programs and was shocked to know I had actually seen him in person.

  2. He is the thinking woman's crumpet, he is! Gorgeous man. Who could forget him in Dangerous Liaisons on the London stage with that very fine actress, Lindsay Duncan? (He's been paired with her a couple of times, most recently in Private Lives, I think.)

    And that terrific film, Truly, Madly, Deeply, with Juliet Stevenson? Oh, be still, my heart!

    Saw the PBS show with him and Emma Thompson. (Must say that ET looked so good I almost did not recognize her!) And did you all notice that when the book the character's husband had written was flashed, it was ET's real-life husband, Greg Wise, in the photo? He was the odious Willoughby (did I spell his name correctly?) in Sense & Sensibility — she may have met him on the set of that film. Rickman was fabulous as the egoistic poet!

  3. I'ved adored Alan Rickman ever since I saw Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway. I've been lucky enough to see him in Private Lives with Lindsey Duncan as well as John Gabriel Borkman (with Duncan and Fiona Shaw). I tweeted on Wednesday that I thought he was the sexiest man alive (sorry Bradley Cooper!)

  4. Jo, I did notice the book had a picture of Greg Wise. I remember him in Sense and Sensibility — I think that is how he met Emma Thompson, maybe?? He also looked pretty good in Cranford…Sir somebody…very commanding. @:-)

  5. Alan Rickman is absolutely amazing. He does everything from deliciously evil to just plain delicious and everything in between and he makes it look so easy and so real!

    And for those who have not watched the Harry Potter films he portrays the ultimate hero of unrequited love in a way no other actor I know – living or dead – could do.

  6. Yes, Greg Wise WAS in Cranford, now I remember. And I saw the man in person, years ago, when I was walking to the Charing Cross tube station one early afternoon. He was with his baby with Emma Thompson, Gaia. Wow, that had to be many years ago! Believe she is a teenager now.

    Benedict Cumberbatch, that gorgeous young thing, does fabulous impersonations of Alan Rickman. Go to YouTube, as Thomas at My Porch said, to see/hear them all. What a voice Rickman has!

  7. Sigh. Again. Rickman was on NPR on Tuesday. I turned on the radio, heard one sentence, and knew it was him. What. A. Voice. The caller correctly commented that Rickman could express more with one raised eyebrow than other actors could with an entire script. The Sheriff of Nottingham! Colonel Brandon! Truly, Madly, Deeply! Sigh.

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