Alan Rickman's Personal Letters Reveal Frustration with Role as Snape in Harry Potter Films
It’s nearly impossible to imagine the Harry Potter film franchise without Alan Rickman, but the man who brought Professor Severus Snape to life on the screen wasn’t always pleased with how his character was handled, according to a collection of letters that were released for auction by Neil Pearson Rare Books.
Included in the archive of 38 boxes filled with correspondences, photos, fan mail, film scripts and entries from diaries belonging to Rickman, was a note from producer David Heyman thanking the late actor for his work on the second movie in the Harry Potter franchise, 2002’s The Chamber of Secrets.
“Thank you for making HP2 a success,” said Heyman. “I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.”
In a note entitled “Inside Snape’s Head,” written while Rickman was filming The Half-Blood Prince, the actor — who died in 2016 after a battle with cancer — hinted at his annoyance in his own words, and criticized director David Yates.
“It is as if David Y. has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal,” Rickman said.
The collection, which U.K. outlet The Independent reported is valued at £950,000 (over $1,260,000), also includes a postcard from Daniel Radcliffe praising his performance in a play and a letter from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
“Just back from weeks away and had to send a line about what you wrote in the souvenir programme for Hallows II. Made me very tearful,” she wrote. “Thank *you* for doing justice to my most complex character.”
In addition the archive features a collection of Rickman’s scripts — those from Die Hard, Truly Madly Deeply and Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves — and personal letters from prominent figures including Prince Charles, Tony Blair and former President Bill Clinton.