Alan Rickman: On Screen and Off
Alan Rickman. The voice. That stare. Few can escape his charisma - but did you know he has also worked behind the camera?
His career has been rich and varied - a student of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he won a Tony and Drama Desk award for his Vicomte de Valmont in Danger Liaisons in 1987 as well as acclaim for numerous television and theatrical appearances. And of course, his first feature onscreen role was only Hans Gruber in Die Hard. He went on to endear/entice/terrify us in a myriad of films, including but not limited to Truly Madly Deeply; Close My Eyes, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Sense & Sensibility; Dogma (where is he very appropriately Metatron, the Voice of God); Galaxy Quest; The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (where his melancholic voice lended perfectly to the perpetually pessimistic robot, Marvin); Love Actually; and Perfume. Oh, and a little thing called Harry Potter, in the pivotal role of the complicated Professor Snape.
Rickman has been ranked in Empire's 100 World's Sexiest Men three times, in 1995 (where was ranked no.34) and 2009 and 2010 (both years he was ranked no.8 - he's moving up!). In 2008, a linguist and a sound engineer conducted a study to find the perfect voice, and the conclusion was a combination of Rickman's and fellow actor Jeremy Irons'. Clearly, Rickman’s acting career is notable. But what many may not know is that in 1997 he jumped behind the camera, writing and directing The Winter Guest, based on the play by Sharman MacDonald (who, fun fact, is Keira Knightly's mother) starring Emma Thompson and Phyllida Law.
Set in a quiet Scottish village on a day when the sea has frozen solid, The Winter Guest follows four pairs of locals: Lily and Chloe are two elderly women who fill their days going to funerals of strangers; Tom and Sam, who are skipping school to explore the frozen tundra of the beach and discuss life as only pre-adolescents can; and Alex and Nita, who begin to explore their budding sexuality. At the heart of the story are Elspeth and Francis. Francis (Thompson) is recently widowed and considering a drastic move to Australia with Alex, her son, to escape the pain but her mother, Elspeth (Law) wish otherwise. The stunning landscape and thoughtful performances make The Winter Guest a perfect movie to tuck into on a rainy Sunday with a blanket and a cuppa.