Movie-goers caught their first sight of Alan Rickman in 1988 within the motion thriller Die Onerous. On the age of 42, antediluvian by Hollywood requirements, he was solid as Hans Gruber, a Teutonic terrorist who has seized management of a Los Angeles skyscraper and brought hostages. Performing reverse Bruce Willis’s NYPD detective, Rickman stole the present together with his devil-may-care interpretation of a psychopath and obtained a deluge of plaudits.
Till then his profession had largely been solid in Britain, most notably – after Rada and an apprenticeship in repertory theatre – on the Royal Shakespeare Firm, the place he stood out in performs corresponding to Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Following Die Onerous, he was in fixed demand for the large display. First got here the 1990 romantic comedy Really, Madly, Deeply, with Juliet Stevenson, subsequent Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, through which he was unforgettable because the Sheriff of Nottingham.
It was post-Robin Hood that Rickman started protecting his diary in earnest. What follows is an edited account of his subsequent few early years on display, pre-Harry Potter, and a return to the stage reverse Helen Mirren in Antony and Cleopatra.
Alan Taylor, editor of the Diaries
First day [filming in Dublin] on An Awfully Large Journey.
Afternoon and night we deliberate tomorrow’s mattress scenes and shot the primary kiss. Georgina [Cates] courageous and centered.
All morning bonking (display sort), humping, exhausting. Life undoubtedly not mirroring artwork – if anyone had intercourse in that place they’d break their wrists second day out.
3pm Motorcycle lesson. 20 minutes to find clutch management on one thing that jogs my memory of a giant harmful horse.
Beryl Bainbridge [author of An Awfully Big Adventure] arrives. Caught napping along with her.
Hi there to Prunella Scales – detailed, difficult actress and the particular person is gradual to disclose herself, too. Like persuading some petals to open a bit extra. There’s quite a lot of self-containment on this set. Ms Scales, Mike N, The Diva [Georgina Cates], me …
My shot of the day. Stroll up a number of steps. Cease. Flip. Look. Look away. The only duties could make you are feeling like an unoiled robotic.
Lunch on the set. A final-dayish ambiance. Then to the aquarium. Freezing water and, surprisingly sufficient, very moist; a frogman grabbing my ankles; eyes open; blood on the brow; staring. It takes some time.
10.45 → flight to London.
An general ache is growing, not emotional, only a response to the aquarium dunking.
8pm Ruby [Wax]’s party.
Carrie Fisher is there, humorous and quick. Jennifer Saunders, Ade Edmondson, Zoë Wanamaker, Joanna Lumley, John Classes. Somebody asks Jennifer S what she does. The inevitable late evening row …
Labour celebration European gala dinner. John Smith, Robin Cook dinner, Tony Blair all say whats up. Many an encounter, many a speech. Gordon Brown wanting sooo bored.
John Smith is lifeless. Final evening I spoke with him. Everyone knows he would have been an important chief. His competence and humour and quiet energy didn’t promote newspapers till they turned his epitaph.
Meet Fiona [Shaw] & Deborah [Warner] – one of many main horrible twos within the artwork world. Hildegard [Bechtler] joins and we’re on the practice to Glyndebourne. If you get there – there all of it is – a little bit of little Olde England nonetheless determinedly placing out its collapsible chairs, sandwiches, champagne. I stored pondering “somebody with a machine gun will seem any minute”.
To Ruby [Wax] and Ed [Bye, her husband] for a quick glimpse of Ruby’s interview with Madonna. However who’s doing all of the speaking? Guess.
Thanksgiving celebration at Sandra & Michael Kamen [American composer]’s. All I wished was an autograph ebook – Kate Bush, Bryan Adams, David Bowie, Stevie Winwood.
Emma Thompson telephones [about Sense and Sensibility]. OK I’m [going to] meet him [Ang Lee].
Speak to Emma. “Her individuals” and “my individuals” now.
3pm To Ang Lee. He will get the Sensibility, what’s the Sense? Tips on how to play, easy methods to shoot Brandon, “the one sturdy man within the story”. I stated: “I’ll be doing it, you’ll simply should shoot it.”
Dublin. 8pm Irish premiere [of An Awfully Big Adventure]. Really feel like an elder statesman studying the letter from Mike [Newell].
10am Wandering the Dublin streets earlier than getting again to the Shelbourne for 11am to seek out – ! – Neil Jordan and Stephen Woolley re The Large Fella [eventually named Michael Collins]. Will I do it [play Eamon de Valera]? Drop pounds? What different commitments?
Collected [at Plymouth station]. 20 minutes drive to the placement [for Sense and Sensibility]. At lunchtime the trailer fills up with Imogen Stubbs, Gemma Jones, Emma Thompson – Imogen & Emma all Austened-up. Gemma in mountaineering boots … Spend the pm doing hair and make-up. Someplace round 8 we do the required arise, sit down, look left, look proper in a considerably tight ambiance, to not point out coat. Gently humiliating.
9.35 Prepare again to London.
Nonetheless feeling faintly depressed by yesterday. A lot consideration to “The Look”. What about “The Content material”? And what about making a working surroundings with Ang – who, studying between the already obvious strains, is used to “conducting” his actors, quite than nurturing.
A 6.15 get up for my very first day on Sense and Sensibility. Make-up and hair turns into a mild negotiation – hair, particularly. Heated rollers finally win. Kate W wanting so stunning in her gilded marriage ceremony robe. Emma T along with her eyes in all places. Harriet W & I uncool sufficient to confess simply having fun with being right here.
Drinks within the bar at 8pm – Emma, Imelda, Hugh L[aurie], Hugh G[rant], Gemma Jones, Harriet, Kate W. Hugh G his regular snappy, sharp, acid self. In to dinner with 2 x Hugh, Harriet & me. The dialog strikes away from gossip and we discuss of British & US movie manufacturing. Hugh Laurie seems to be an motion film freak. Hugh G is fascinated by figures, charges, %.
I’m starting to get the dangle of Ang.
Emma’s hazard is of understanding all the things. She will’t, nobody can.
And one other day not referred to as. Lunch on the set. Then into boots and breeches and off to the stables.
One other 7.30 get up. One other day not getting used. The solar shines. They do one thing else.
7am name – and eventually I’m on … Because it seems the scene turns into a nightmare of rushed selections, manipulations, too many seems. It isn’t thought by means of so time is wasted … Which signifies that appearing is out the window … I finish the day feeling humiliated and indignant – however I can’t present it.
Sunday am. I’m reminded, watching Emma with crew, director, producers, fellow actors, of a younger lady arranging her dolls in her faux classroom.
7.20am pick-up to go to Heathrow and Dublin [for Michael Collins].
As I obtained out of the automobile [in Dublin], there’s Julia Roberts, her waist is the most encirclable. Upstairs to seek out Liam [Neeson] & Aidan [Quinn]. Neil Jordan arrives a couple of minutes later – all of us sit down and discuss by means of the de Valera scenes. Neil is his regular jitterbugging self – like a grasshopper nipping from matter to matter.
To Shepperton [for Sense and Sensibility] … In fact, the set, the newspapers, the TV and in all places is obsessive about Hugh Grant and his Sundown trick … [he was arrested in LA with a sex worker] So many column inches, so many different issues we must always concern ourselves with. The scenes really feel as if they’re being ticked off now … Ang appears nervous. He in all probability wants a hug. Like Hugh.
To … Dublin. And the Shelbourne. Catch-up-fast time. Rent a video recorder, learn the books, get underneath Dev’s pores and skin. Hopefully.
8.45 pick-up → the set … The reconstruction of O’Connell Avenue is sort of sensible. Put up Workplace, Mansion Home, cobbles and – frighteningly – the platform for Dev’s speech. All day the crowds develop and develop – hearsay has it that 2,000 extra have been despatched house. That leaves 2–3,000 inside all looking at me since Neil [Jordan] involves announce that the speech is first. Is it his nerves that makes him query the hair, the costume, the accent, the all the things???
In the long run he’s blissful and we simply do it. No rehearsal. Simply do it.
Picture name for the Irish press. Julia Roberts a mite pissed-off at being stored ready …
Kilmainham Gaol. Two minutes in one of many cells and I’m beginning to get anxious – what should it have been like? They have been all so proud to die. They knew when it was coming [and] what it was for. That is starting to really feel like one thing I simply have handy myself over to – it’ll handle itself. Hidden forces are very sturdy.
Night time shoot at Kilmainham. Sandy Powell [costume designer] has made Dev a fetching coat and bonnet for his Lincoln jail escape. Stephen Woolley says the rushes are nice. That is one man (of few phrases usually) who I imagine.
1.30 pick-up. Via the Wicklow mountains to Glenmalure and a thatched cottage by a stream. For the primary time Dev in a scene with the “Recent-Confronted Child” ie Jonathan [Rhys Meyers, playing De Valera’s assassin] who’s on his third film this 12 months, performs flute, tin whistle and drums, has simply returned from backpacking in Vietnam and is, after all, additionally impossibly handsome …
… 6pm pick-up.
One other lump of Eire commandeered for the Pub and Hayrick [scene]. The city stays up all evening to see it. Ultimately, my shot is at 4am. Perhaps it’s simply as properly. The shivering is pretty genuine by then. Mattress at 7am.
9.30 Automobile to Goldcrest to loop Sense and Sensibility. Good to see Ang. Emma arrives at 2pm. The persevering with conundrum. Lovable, affectionate and in some way starring day by day within the film of her life …
To satisfy Liam [Neeson] & Natasha [Richardson] for what seems to be an exquisite, chatty, pleasant lunch – Liam has seen Michael Collins and loves it so – ONWARD. To Lee Grant [American actor]’s apt at 11.45pm – big room, a lot of individuals (together with G Paltrow & Brad Pitt) stand round, maintain glass, smile, chat, depart.
Watch S&S in rising dismay. It has been minimize to focus solely on the ladies’s journey – the boys are senseless. Unhappy – we must always care who they’re marrying.
Academy nominations for Emma & Kate yesterday however not Ian [McKellen], nor Nicole Ok. Loopy days.
12 midday Isabelle Huppert’s lunch on the Ivy upstairs. 34? individuals spherical the gorgeous oval desk. The form of day you want would go on and on … the room filled with echoes. Particularly of ladies I’ve performed reverse – and as I go searching – Juliet [Stevenson], Fiona [Shaw], Paola [Dionisotti], Harriet [Walter], Saskia [Reeves], Deborah [Warner], Beatie [Edney], Zoë [Wanamaker], Gillian [Barge], Anna [Massey] – it’s a supply of pleasure.
2am Judy Hofflund [Rickman’s agent] calls from LA for an early Pleased Birthday.
The difficulty with this job is that you may watch your self & your mates rising older in full color, shut up. Flip a swap to rewind or quick ahead.
6.30 The automobile is right here and by 6.45 we’re on the way in which to the Curzon Mayfair for Sense and Sensibility premiere which is an effective distraction from the birthday … Previous associates in new frocks, line-up for Prince Charles (inform him he ought to have performed my half) and in to the movie. Horrible sound however cuts aside it’s a gorgeous piece of labor.
9ish To Searcy’s for Brian Cox’s party. All human appearing was there.
7pm To Nicole Farhi’s Christmas celebration … David Hare has not a lot softened as melted with the wedding and now the fortunate sod is off to Peru & Colombia for Christmas.
7pm Competition Corridor for Guardian’s summer season celebration. Completely fascinating. Levels of leglessness unknown aside from to journalists.
Golden Globes. Film stars in vastly costly clothes they’ll solely put on as soon as; name-dropping on a giant scale at … the CAA celebration – Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon (I used to be pretty drunk, grabbing his lapels to inform him he’s a very, no actually good actor), Minnie Driver, Lauren Bacall, Shirley MacLaine (she liked The Winter Visitor, my hero), Winona Ryder, Joan Cusack (squished in a carry – may we work collectively?), Kevin Kline. Giving the Golden Globe to Alfre Woodard was BEST!
[Filming of Kevin Smith’s Dogma in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]11 Costume becoming. Versace guidelines. 3pm Learn with Linda Fiorentino … She’s all the things she seems and sounds – smoky, darkish, a coming-on disposition. Someplace within the center Ben Affleck crashes in, later Matt Damon. The room is all of a sudden filled with baseball caps, popping cans of water/iced tea/no matter, peeling oranges, potato chips, cigarette smoke. We bungee-jump our method by means of the script.
A rehearsal. Linda asks for 2 strains out of 5. Has she appeared on the scene aside from on the drive in? I’m catapulted right into a darkish and frowning place – silent with resentment at having to work solo. Once more. And so – a protracted day with a scene that’s all about prosthetics and 80lb wings. Ache versus focus. And nonetheless Linda blows her strains.
Someplace on the way in which again to the lodge, I felt a well-recognized knife-like ache in my decrease again. The wings have caught up with me.
To the hospital for X-rays. Thankfully, no disc issues however muscle spasms are eased by a brace (which I in all probability ought to have been sporting with the wings anyway).
To the Star Lake auditorium [near Pittsburgh] to stroll on water. Which all works advantageous aside from the by now predictable 3am when the digital camera comes spherical, and my mind is frying gently. However there’s a vaguely celebratory ambiance, the lake lit fantastically and as daybreak broke we drank some champagne within the make-up trailer and stated goodbyes.
7.30 Wangle my method on to Concorde. Hooray. Ivana Trump provides a little bit of sprint sitting in entrance of me simply the place I can watch her checking her press clippings, wanting by means of itineraries after which quite touchingly wanting lengthy & arduous at photographs of family members earlier than placing them again in her pockets.
That’s it. I’m doing it. Antony and Cleopatra. NT. Helen M[irren]. Sean M[atthias]. Reduction.
5.30 First run (phrases) of Act 1. An excessive amount of appearing from me …
TO ALASKA! [for Microsoft founder Paul Allen’s party]. This 12 months’s visitor record included – Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, James Cameron, Neil Jordan, Jim Sheridan, Jeff Goldblum, Candice Bergen, Annabeth Gish, Ed Begley, Dave Stewart, Deepak Chopra, Noel Redding, Dan Aykroyd, Robin Williams, Patti Smith, Jennifer Saunders, Ade Edmondson, Clare Peploe, Douglas Adams, Quincy Jones, Carrie Fisher, and many others, and many others. All blended up with scientists, architects and Belfast members of the family.
RETURN FROM ALASKA.
11.30 (Managed some sleep) … Automobile again house. Change. On to NT arrive 3pm. Straight into studying Act 3
First day of shifting the play. By late afternoon – alarm bells. Some terribly demonstrated work and dangerous verse talking. The set proving to be awkward.
These have been troublesome days, operating scenes with that terrible greedy sense of the textual content. So – no impetus inside. Textual content being chopped each which method, so no impetus outdoors.
Run by means of Act 3. Ohmigod.
7pm First run – Act 1. Sean’s blissful. It seems like a multitude to me. Aside from Helen who’s free, artistic and flying.
Hungover in a significant method.
3pm The Tech begins. Memorable second within the wings as Helen says: “I’m so blissful … all I dreamed of as a woman was to be a queen in a giant theatre …”
Like a automobile crash we get previous the interval and on into the second half. My questions are getting bigger & extra pressing. The place is the music? The place will the story be? Again and again the place is the exactness?
1.30 First matinee.
Someplace round 6.25 … Sean is available in, wanting wired. For some purpose he was on the assault. “Wouldn’t it damage you to indicate some fucking appeal?” I used to be shocked, stated don’t converse to me like that, simply give me the notes, that is the primary time you’ve talked about this, I’m piecing the half collectively and many others, and many others. As I write this I’m nonetheless bewildered. Had individuals been nagging him? What? Ian McK & Charlotte Cornwell got here spherical having liked it. Have been they despatched too?
A day of relative stillness, Sleep. Newspapers. Planet Natural. Cappuccino. Ironing the odd shirt. Answering mail. Cooking supper. Pondering. Pondering. Rima, blessedly and unsentimentally, with me.
7pm Press evening.
As per regular all the things heightened. Later to Soho Home.
After which the morning quietness which implies the press shouldn’t be good. Ultimately I hear the tentative messages and get the image.
One other heavy silence hangs over the gray, gray day … By now this implies solely extra dangerous [Sunday] press … OK – on by means of the following six weeks.
7pm These are the robust reveals. Everybody is aware of what has been stated. Nobody refers to it. Besides on the interval (after a shaky first half) there’s a really touching, nameless notice from the corporate sending love and loyalty.
Lengthy telephone name from Ian McKellen. Geeing up, reminding, empowering, focusing. He’s presently rehearsing Current Laughter “with out a director”.
…a contented viewers. An increasing number of individuals saying ‘What have been they speaking about?’
1.30 The curse of the matinée. From which it’s arduous to get well.
7 That is an endurance take a look at. One scene at a time, preserve vitality the place you possibly can.
And the final efficiency. Simply to assist it alongside – a barracker is within the viewers apparently shouting “Garbage!” at one level after which “Quiet, women” as Helen & I are kissing. Eliminated on the interval.
The following dozen years have been outlined by Rickman’s position as Professor Severus Snape within the Harry Potter movies, chronicled in the diary entries in Saturday’s Guardian. Subsequently, in addition to an award-winning run on Broadway in Theresa Rebeck’s Seminar; starring in Michael Hoffman’s movie Gambit, alongside Colin Firth, Cameron Diaz and Stanley Tucci; and Eye in the Sky with Helen Mirren, Rickman went on to co-write and direct A Little Chaos, starring Kate Winslet and Matthias Schoenaerts. A ardour challenge, it took him 4 years to get the movie off the bottom and into the can. It premiered on the Toronto movie pageant in 2014.
2pm Greek Avenue. Casting session [for A Little Chaos].
Actor speaking to actor whereas being director. Not snug particularly when the components are so small when it comes to strains.
Kate and I stroll by means of the script. And he or she actually takes the time to look at each free thought, each wayward phrase. These are the advantageous tunings now. And we are able to’t lose sight of the drive towards story-telling.
The day Margaret Thatcher died. Rima can’t watch the protection, I’ve a clean fascination at seeing so a few years pan throughout one’s reminiscences, together with senseless adulation
A Little Chaos – Day One. Chenies [the film’s location, a Buckinghamshire manor house].
6.15 To Chenies.
A day memorable for the carriage crash and for hilarity brought on by my utilizing the walkie-talkie as a phone. Additionally KWs husband [Ned Rocknroll] arrived and there was a definite sense of an onset presence that distracted focus…
6.15 To Chenies.
Kate provides so little of herself – all the things as an actor – however there’s by no means a second the place she finds out something about her fellow actors – and even says bravo or thanks. Unusual to witness. Such a intentionally erected wall.
10.10 To Cliveden.
Into the King’s Bed room, with Stanley. Who didn’t completely know his not many strains …
That is our final official day of taking pictures. Kate is now 16 (?) weeks pregnant and giving all the things. By the tip of every day she is wiped however nonetheless unbelievably centered.
A Little Chaos – Final day. Lights up, lights down. Au revoir to Kate. She strikes swiftly and cleanly on – whole dedication to all the things. Ned, the kids, this movie, the following movie, the youngsters’ baked beans.
Wrap celebration. Which turned out to be a joyous factor. Chiswick Home. Nice venue … However all these sudden goodbyes to individuals who have shared the within of your head, coronary heart, insecurities, triumphs … now the unusual absence.
7.45pm Kathy Lette [for dinner].
Oh Kathy …
The company – Barry Humphries, Terry Gilliam, Helena Kennedy, Ruby & Ed, Ed & Justine Miliband, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jemima Khan, Salman Rushdie. For God’s sake. Exhausting simply writing that. However good chats with Justine M. (the stress of all of it) and Ed is upright and nonetheless wanting ahead. An inspiration and nonetheless interested by everyone and all the things.
5.30 Buckingham Palace.
Sectioned right into a line-up – Angela Lansbury, Steve McQueen, Jane Horrocks, Lenny Henry, Luke Treadaway – to satisfy the Queen. Who shakes my hand and strikes on, as ever. Then all the way down to the live performance within the ballroom – big, no microphones, individuals can’t hear. Then a voice in my ear – ‘The Duchess of Cambridge want to meet you.’ And good and chatty she was, too. 100 faces to talk to. Not possible.
Toronto movie pageant.
6.30 To Roy Thomson Corridor. Watch the movie [A Little Chaos].
On the finish, 2,000 individuals stood and clapped loud and lengthy.
London movie pageant, Odeon West Finish.
5.35 Crimson carpet. “What attracted you to this challenge?” occasions 10. Great focus within the cinema. Big applause on the finish. 9ish the Union Membership. Associates all severely knocked out by the movie.
SOUTH AFRICA Blazing sizzling day on the seashore. A beer, a Coke, a tangerine.
7pm A Little Chaos screening. Watching from the steps. The Q&A is similar 5 questions solely longer.
The early morning silence [after reviews are published] that I do know properly from the previous … Folks find it irresistible. Critics – some gained’t go there. One, I’d hazard, wrote his assessment earlier than he’d seen it.
EN ROUTE TO NEW YORK HAVING BEEN IN BERLIN AND VIENNA.
Hanging about within the Concorde Room for the 5.05 to Newark … This [A Little Chaos] is the form of work I make. If I’m to be disallowed then – I simply cease.
2.45 The Wellington [hospital]. As instructed. And examined.
5.30 Dr Landau, Harley Avenue.
A distinct form of diary now.
It’s at this level that Rickman learns he has pancreatic most cancers.
Rima Horton writes:
Alan’s final diary entry was on 12 December, however he had been getting weaker and writing much less for a while. All by means of the autumn he was consuming much less and sometimes feeling sick. However we continued to do a lot of the issues that had all the time been a part of our life. We noticed movies and performs, met associates, went out to dinner or entertained at house. Alan additionally spent lots of time watching TV – his two favorite programmes at the moment have been Don’t Inform the Bride and Say Sure to the Costume. Our journey to New York in November was crucial. To remain in our flat once more and see so lots of the associates who had meant a lot to us through the years. Alan liked New York.
He went downhill after that. He was admitted to hospital on 20 December and by no means left.
The final two weeks of Alan’s life have been extraordinary. His hospital room was changed into a salon. Belinda [Lang] produced a table-top Christmas tree, Emma T introduced in a regular lamp, cushions and a throw to cowl the couch. And an infuser. Miranda R added a window bird-feeder. I introduced a gorgeous desk lamp from house.
Completely different associates got here in every day. Typically, Alan instructed me who he wished to see. In any other case, they simply got here. There was usually lots of laughter. Alan was in mattress however all the time a significant voice within the proceedings.
He designed his personal funeral. Ian Rickson (theatre director) was put in cost. Alan selected the place it might happen, who would converse and what music can be performed.
He was surrounded by individuals who liked him and up till 13 January was nonetheless accountable for all the things that was happening round him. However he wasn’t there after that, and he died at 9.15 within the morning of 14 January 2016. I used to be there. He wasn’t in ache. He simply went.
Alan was cremated on the morning of three February with shut family and friends current. The funeral service was held that afternoon within the Actors’ Church within the coronary heart of London’s theatre district. The chosen music was Uptown Funk and Take It with Me by Tom Waits. We completed with everybody singing The Solar Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore. Then, in step with custom, the Reverend Richard Syms requested us to offer Alan “one final fantastic standing ovation”.
Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries edited by Alan Taylor is revealed by Canongate (£25). To assist the Guardian and Observer order your copy at guardianbookshop.com. Supply prices might apply