The post Alan Rickman Struggled to Finish Harry Potter While Battling Cancer: “See It Through. It’s Your Story” appeared first on Consequence.
Alan Rickman’s posthumous diaries will be published next month, and the collected writings unveil the iconic actor’s views on politics, his favorite Hollywood gossip, and then, his struggle to finish the Harry Potter franchise before cancer made it impossible.
Rickman died in 2016 at the age of 69, five years after the final Harry Potter film bowed in theaters. Now, The Guardian has shared excerpts from Madly Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, which is set to be released on October 18th.
He was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, and doctors removed his prostate in January of 2006. On the 5th of that month, he wrote, “Pre-op. This is like a film set. Nothing seems real. Remembering nothing but with that painkiller high in the recovery room. Attentive, caring people.”
Three days later, he wrote about an amusing interaction with his doctors, whose nervousness he initially misinterpreted. “The doctors come round and after dealing with catheters and drainage, finally, nervously get to the point – ‘How did you do the fall at the end of Die Hard?'”
Then, on January 30th, he made the decision to continue with the role of Severus Snape. “Finally, yes to HP 5,” he wrote. “The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story.’”
A few months later he was back on set, and he noted the change that went over him as he got into character. “I realise as soon as that [Snape’s] ring and costume go on – something happens. It becomes alien to be chatty, smiley, open. The character narrows me down, tightens me up. Not good qualities on a film set. I have never been less communicative with a crew. Fortunately, Dan [Radcliffe] fills that role with ease and charm. And youth.”
Rickman also detailed his first conversations with author J.K. Rowling, who convinced him that playing Snape would be nothing like the villainous Hans Gruber in Die Hard. “Talk to Joanne Rowling again and she nervously lets me in on a few glimpses of Snape’s background. Talking to her is talking to someone who lives these stories, not invents them. She’s a channel – bubbling over with, ‘Well, when he was young, you see, this, that and the other happened’ – never, ‘I wanted so & so…'”
The diaries also capture his emotions upon finishing the final book one week after its release. “I have finished reading the last Harry Potter book,” he wrote. “Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus. This was a genuine rite of passage. One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hang on to.”
The writings also offer Rickman’s thought on politicians. He hated George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and Boris Johnson, and celebrated the 2008 US election with the all-caps words, “OBAMA WINS.” He also relates jokes from his co-stars, including this gem from Maggie Smith about the Ladies in Lavender premiere: “Miriam Margolyes looked like a Sherman tank in sequins.”