Alan Rickman was an actor who had an enviable number of iconic roles in his filmography. Die Hard‘s Hans Gruber may have been the big one in the generation directly preceding my own, but to ’90s kids, his most iconic role may very well be none other than Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. In both the books in the films, Snape was a character some fans loved to hate and others loved to ruminate on. What were his alliances, and how did he actually feel about young Harry Potter himself?
Fans speculated on this for years until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but the actual answers to these questions were also lovingly portrayed in the very final film in the long-running Warner Bros. film series. Considering how well received Rickman’s portrayal was, it’s interesting to note that it doesn’t sound like Rickman’s experience was altogether satisfactory — or at the very least, there were moments where that was the case.
A new collection of letters have just been auctioned off related to the film, and in them, one letter was addressed to Rickman from film series producer David Heyman, which said:
“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.”
While we don’t have the full context to this letter, it does very much appear to be one of appeasement, where Rickman likely expressed concerns that his character was being underdeveloped. Given the nature of those early films, I suppose that’s not a huge surprise. What is a bit of a surprise is that Rickman’s concerns seemingly returned while working on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where Rickman wrote a note titled “Inside Snape’s Head.”
Here’s what he said:
“It’s as if [director] David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal.”
On a personal note, I felt The Half-Blood Prince was one of my favorites due to its slice-of-life nature, but it was not without its shortcomings. One such shortcoming is its lack of emphasis on the titular Half-Blood Prince. While in the book, the character of Snape was a huge role, he was certainly relegated to the background of the film, so much so that the reveal of him being the Half-Blood Prince carried virtually no weight.
What do you think of these thoughts from Rickman? Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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