It’s Friday night, it’s the middle of January, you’ve probably given up alcohol for the month so what’s the point in going out?
Stay in tonight instead and pay tribute to one of the finest British Actors of all time with a movie marathon dedicated to Alan Rickman. To help you out, here’s our top 5 films staring the ultimate British bad guy…
1: Die Hard, 1988
Yes, Christmas may seem like a distant memory now but Die Hard works on so many different levels that it could have taken place at any time of the year. Die Hard was Alan Rickman’s first big break in America, he was offered the role of Hans Gruber in his first year living in Hollywood and the result was one of the greatest movie villans of all time.
2: Robin Hood: Price of Thieves, 1991
The role of Hans Gruber no doubt caught the eye of director Kevin Reynolds, as Rickman was cast as the slightly more humorous villain, the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. This one goes without saying and is a must for any Alan Rickman marathon.
There was a humorous revelation last year that Rickman actually turned down the script twice before asking for chunks of the Sheriff’s lines to be re-written by playwright Peter Barnes and comedian Ruby Wax. Apparently they all met in a Pizza Express and made key additions to scenes. Rickman stated that Barnes apparently told him: “You should have a wench in a doorway, and then you should say, ‘You. My room, 10.30,’ and then turn to the other wench and say, ‘You, 10.45’.” Wax later added to this with: “And bring a friend.” Director Kevin Reynolds let them slip the lines into the scene and it became one of the classic and most quoted moments in the film.
3: The Song of Lunch, 2010
So this is a slight different addition to this list, and it may be hard to get hold of. Released on BBC television as part of poetry week the 50 minute drama stars Rickman and Emma Thompson playing two ex-lovers who meet in an Italian restaurant in Soho. Now don’t go thinking that this is any kind of Love Actually squeal (as the two played troubled lovers in the 2003 Richard Curtis film, in case you lived under a rock and didn’t know that…) The production is unusual in featuring little spoken dialogue, with the action instead being an enactment of incidents described by the poetic monologue of Rickman. As I stated this is no Hollywood blockbuster but it certainly reminds you just what a brilliantly creative and clever actor Rickman is, and many could consider The Song of Lunch a fine example of the very best this great thesbian had to offer. Certainly worth a watch if you enjoy fine acting and poetry.
4: Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny, 1996/ Galaxy Quest,1999
Okay, so it’s not that I haven’t made my mind up about fourth place on my list, I just feel there needs to be options here.
So if you want to go for his Emmy winning performance as Grigori Rasputin, there won’t be any laughs (as much as he resembles the Sheriff of Nottingham visually!) but you will get Rickman once again throwing every ounce of his soul in to what you can tell, is a very important part to him. Rickman always spoke fondly of this TV drama, it’s enjoyable but certainly very hard-hitting.
So if you don’t fancy that, I suggest Galaxy Quest…
Galaxy Quest is film where you can really see Rickman enjoying every moment he appears in this film and just having a fucking good time! It’s actually rather a clever role as Rickman plays almost a parody of himself, a classic-trained Shakespearean British actor, who unlike him has found himself type-cast in show where he’s stuck wearing ridiculous prosthetics and forced to constantly say the catchphrase: “By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged!” – which when said by Mr Rickman, is just hilarious.
5: Harry Potter – any of them!
Now, I must confess that I am not the biggest Harry Potter fan but I certainly did enjoy the films and particular characters, including Professor Severus Snape. I read the first book when I was 11 years old and the Snape Rickman gave us on screen was exactly how I’d imagined him in my head. I couldn’t pin-point a particular film where he stands out and neither could my Harry Potter obsessive friends, therefore I’d simply say, take your pick! One thing I will note however are the wonderful tributes left by his co-stars of the Harry Potter Films. In particular the quote below stood out from Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter himself. I think it personally sums-up the warmth and kindness of Alan Rickman, along with his passion for the industry and fellow peers…
“I’m pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn’t have to do that” – Daniel Radcliffe