What a stupid week, eh? With Alan Rickman exiting stage left, we thought we should let him know how much we, truly, madly, passionately, remarkably, deliciously… juicily loved him with a selection of our favourite lip-curls.
As Alexander Dane
In Galaxy Quest, Rickman plays Alexander Dane – an actor playing Dr Lazarus of Tev’Meck. It sounds ridiculous, convoluted and funny; and it’s exactly that. For those of you that missed this gem, Galaxy Quest’s premise is essentially The Three Amigos in space – it tells the story of a cast of actors in a flailing science fiction show, in which the crew of a ship get into mishaps and mayhem around the universe.
The leader of an alien race that somehow picks up on our TV shows believes it to be more documentary than fantasy and asks the actors for help defending his people. Rickman plays an acerbic, frustration-filled actor who’s sick of being typecast. He delivers it deadpan but uses his character’s catchphrase to move you from laughter to tears to high fives and back again – the way only Alan Rickman could. By Grabthar’s hammer, you shall be missed.
Bisha K Ali
As the Sheriff of Nottingham
It was 1991. I was eight years old. It was my sister’s ninth birthday and the day my Mum took a group of kids to see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Look into my eyes… you will see…
The opening shots are of hands being cut off, stumps dunked in tar and countless men chained to dungeon walls. Cue horror for my Mum, who had taken 10 under-10s to see some kind of brutality flick. After that it was just fighting, nude river bathing, public hangings, casual racism and a C-section performed by an ill-qualified ‘Moor’, which Mum felt more at ease with.
And amid the hero, the pretty maid and Christian Slater’s beautiful Will Scarlet (plus Wolf, who was the kid from T-Bag and the Pearls of Wisdom), there he was; the Sheriff of Nottingham.
I was eight and I was terrified. However, as I grew older and watched the film more, probably on average around two or three times a year, I LOVED him. He was indeed terrifying, not only for his collusion with the horrifying Mortianna but also for his sincere and authentic British villainy. There is literally no other actor that could have pulled that part off with the right balance of evil and humour, deplorability and charm.
“I’ll cut your heart out with a spoon!” his angry mouth screams at Robin Hood. Throughout the film, Rickman’s Sheriff engages in witchcraft, pillage and plots to steal the kingdom; torture, parricide, forced marriage and attempted rape, all while expressing the most vicious of witty repartee. The writing is good, the delivery, well, legendary in my mind.
He is gone now. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings… and call off Christmas. I love you Alan. Rest In Peace.
As Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply
Truly, Madly, Deeply is one of those films that defies genre. Too funny to be a drama, too tragic to be a comedy, heartbreakingly romantic, while also jolting you with its realism. It is the reason that I cannot listen to a cello solo without instantly choking up. Don’t start me on The Walker Brothers’ hit The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.
It remains the film I have shed the most tears over, repeatedly. It is the film I pretentiously loaned to a bloke, implying that this was ‘what I was all about’ (said bloke is now my boyfriend so I have a lot to thank it for). It is a cautionary tale of grief, a ghost story of enduring love, both delicate and riotous at once.
And at its core, it is the triumvirate of Anthony Minghella, Juliet Stevenson and, of course, Alan Rickman that makes it what it is. Every time after I’ve watched it I tell somebody I love them. Somebody appropriate, that is. Not just someone at Tesco or something. I first watched this film at drama school, and though I am loath to use the term ‘inspiring’, I annoyingly can’t think of a better description. It made me want to be doing stuff like that, to be the kind of actors they were.
Last year I was in a play at the Donmar Warehouse and Alan Rickman paid us a visit one Saturday night after the show (he was a friend of one of my fellow cast members). My heart melted as he smiled at me, congratulated me, as he acted like a gentleman and made the room laugh. I wish I had told him the effect that film had had on me. But I couldn’t. I’d probably only have burst into tears anyway.
That scene from Truly, Madly, Deeply. You’re welcome.
As Hans Gruber
As I’ve written before, I do like me a bit of original Die Hard, and Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber is a massive part of that. To be the best thing about a film that is already pretty bloody great is quite an achievement.
I’ve already written about the tenseness of the scene where Gruber and McClane finally meet, with Gruber suddenly pretending to be a scared yuppie hostage on the run. The thing I’d like to take from Alan Rickman’s performance in Die Hard this time is how it’s a perfect example of why he was the absolute Daddy of British Hollywood Villains; the Fat Sam to several generations of British actors who coulda been anything that they wanted to be with all the talents they had, but no doubt about it they fight and they pout it, they’re the very best at being bad.
He meets all the criteria – looking and sounding like he’s just stepped out of Macbeth and into an explosion; managing to be incredibly British and German at the same time; setting my knickers on fire. Oh yes, even with the shoulderpads, mullet and penchant for shooting businessmen on Christmas Eve, Gruber still outsexes McClane in every shot of Die Hard.
When he falls to his death (that expression of shock is apparently genuine, by the way – the director said he’d count the lovely Alan down to being dropped for the shot, and then didn’t) the world was robbed of a beautiful, evil butterfly. And now, it’s happened for real. The world has dropped a plummy-voiced sexpot off the Nakatomi Plaza of life, and British Villainy will never quite be the same again.
Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
“Well I say we get drunk because I’m all out of ideas.” If there’s a better quote to sum up the response to the news of Alan Rickman’s death, I don’t know what it is. Of all the roles he has played, is there any role more immediately suited to his talents than the Voice of God? As the Metatron in Dogma, we see a frankly astounding range from Rickman, from the surly, tequila-slugging sassbucket, to the gentle, sorrowful angel tasked with the horror of telling a child that he’s the son of God.
When he arrives at those pearly gates, I hope the current Metatron has the good grace to step aside. There’s only one voice and one heart big enough to carry those wings. And I’m sure God will be just made up when she sees him carrying them.
As Colonel Brandon
My love for the men of Sense and Sensibility changes as I age. When I saw the film at the cinema, I flirted briefly with Willoughby. Maybe I’m just impressed by men who lift women. By the end of the film, I was in Edward Ferrars’ camp. I clearly was fond of a man who sputters his words in a stable.
But on second viewing, and all those thereafter, it was Colonel Brandon all the way. I love picnics, billowy white shirts and constant, consistent, unerring love. And he could lift women. And had that unmistakable voice. His understated performance transfixes me and makes me quite swoony, so that now Willoughby is just an cockend plot device and Ferrars makes me want to shout, “hurry up and fucking say something” at him.
Brandon is always there, quietly solid and good. While Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves made me clap and laugh, Sense and Sensibility is when I fell for Alan Rickman.
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