Whether you fell in love with Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility or loved to hate him in Harry Potter (or any of his amazing work before and after these two pillars of his resume), there’s one thing that’s for sure – we lost him way too soon.
At least we have the internet to give us comfort, and today that comes in the form of 8 great facts about an even greater guy.
#8. He was supposed to star in Four Weddings and a Funeral.
The role of Charles in Four Weddings and a Funeral was a breakthrough part for Hugh Grant, but the part was originally supposed to go to Rickman. The man pretty much owes Rickman his career.
#7. His first career was in graphic design.
Rickman was interested in drama as a teenager, but after studying graphic design at Chelsea College and Royal College of Art, he and a few friends started their own graphic design business called Graphitti. After several successful years he began doing theater and then enrolled at RADA.
#6. He met his longtime partner when he was a teenager.
When Alan Rickman was 19 years old he met 18-year-old Rima Horton, and that was it – though they didn’t marry until 2012, they were a couple for 50 years. Rima served as Labour Party councilor on their local council for two decades and worked as an economics lecturer at Kingston University.
#5. He auditioned for Return of the Jedi.
It was for the part of Admiral Moff Jerjerrod, who oversaw the construction of the second Death Star. The part went to Michael Pennington.
#4. He has the “perfect male voice,” according to science.
In 2008, linguist Andrew Linn and sound engineer Shannon Harris analyzed voice samples from more than 50 people to determine what makes the perfect human voice – and the answer turned out to be a mixture of Alan Rickman and Jeremy Irons.
Helen Mirren’s quote following his death sums that fact – and him – up perfectly:
“Alan was a towering person, physically, mentally, and as an artist. He was utterly distinctive, with a voice that could suggest honey or a hidden stiletto blade, and the profile of a Roman Emperor.”
#3. His first big break was on the stage.
He played Vicomte de Valmont in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 1985. When he moved to Broadway in 1987, he won both Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for the role.
#2. He made his feature film debut in Die Hard.
Sam Neill turned down the role of Hans Gruber, which turned out to be a stroke of luck for Rickman – though the fact that the casting director for the film loved him on Broadway didn’t hurt.
#1. He almost turned Gruber down.
He was hesitant to make the leap from stage to screen, as he explained himself in an interview.
“I didn’t know anything about L.A. I didn’t know anything about the film business…I’d never made a film before, but I was extremely cheap.”
And the script?
“What the hell is this? I’m not doing an action movie.”
But after more consideration he realized it was “quite revolutionary, and quietly so.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Time for a rewatch…Colonel Brandon will always be too good for Marianne Dashwood.