It’s been a bad week to lose your icons, first was David Bowie and then seventy-two hours later, Alan Rickman.
Of all the people, Alan Rickman.
Once again, life’s not fair is it?
Especially not Alan Rickman, who sadly I never met but I have loved since the 1990’s
What I loved most about Alan, is that this was a man who walked away from a career as a graphic designer to become an actor, did it the hard way as a dresser until he got cast in the stage version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Then had to deal with John Malkovich taking his part as the Vicomte de Valmont in the film adaptation. Talk about a kick in the face.
Yet by a strange twist of fate Les Liaisons Dangereuses, got him noticed he went over to Hollywood, for probably no more than shits and giggles and he perhaps he really wanted to see The Statue of Liberty…and got hired two days later for Die Hard.
By this point, he was in his forties, which should be an inspiration to us all never to give up on your dreams. Die Hard, I’ll get to in a second, it was Robin Hood that grabbed me.
It’s strange how some things are so ingrained in your life, that you remember every detail. Like when you’re eleven and it’s your sisters 14th birthday, so it’s her turn to choose the film. When I was young, a trip to the cinema was a luxury reserved only for birthdays.
Along with my mum, We dressed up, had Pizza and sat down to a film that had been out for two months, so the cinema we almost had to ourselves, as we settled down to watch Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
It was the first 12certificate I had ever seen at the cinema and the first film I ever saw Alan Rickman.
From that moment it became R’s favourite film, we eventually got it on video and used to watch it before school and can both quote it.
It’s a truth universally accepted that the British play better villains in Hollywood films, since our natural accents, both contain authority and education, and no one played it better than Alan Rickman
It was funny when I read that Costner was so enraged when he found out that the director was shooting more scene with the Sheriff, so this happened, which I pulled from IMDb
The producers, one of them being director Kevin Reynolds’ longtime friend, Kevin Costner, took over the editing of the film, going to the extent of physically locking the original editor Peter Boyle out of the editing suite. However, they were contractually obliged, under Directors’ Guild rules, to show their cut to Reynolds. He was less than impressed with what they’d done to his film.
Over the years I’ve seen both cuts of the film, the Directors, which I refer to as the “Sheriff version”, and the original. Both are awesome, and he still robbed the film from Costner
Courtesy of that film, for years I thought Nottingham was next to Dover because of a line in that film, since the scriptwriter is worse than geography that I am, and didn’t realise it’s 200 miles away. Not exactly a walk in the Forest, and they detour on Hadrian’s Wall…add 300 miles on to that.
He stole that film from Kevin Costner, which isn’t too difficult when your leading actor, who apparently bothered to try an English accent, but stopped when everyone realised he was terrible, and everyone from Friar Tuck (also one of the greatest actors in this film) steals your scenes, and your own sidekick is being played by Morgan Freeman.
Robin Hood is a film you can’t take seriously, ever since scene, even the more dramatic like the sack of the hidden village has an element of pantomime about it. Especially since the Celts, looked and wore nothing like that in the 12th Century.
The best thing, however, is that everyone is in on it, apart from Kevin Costner, and no one is playing the pantomime villain more than Alan Rickman. He is a manipulative, comical, bastard who after being given Carte blanche to do what he liked with his lines, used them to his full advantage. He is probably the only actor in history, who after trying to rape his new wife Marion, treats Robin’s big dramatic reveal like he’s the boss reprimanding the work experience!
That film actually cementing the bad guys being British in Hollywood and set the standard for the educated villain. But even though I’m using the word “villain”, at times it just seemed that he was playing an intelligent man, who just knew what he wanted. However to get what he wanted, well he just had to kill a few people.
Now let’s talk about Die Hard, his first ever film which he also stole. Cold, calculating and Rickman, fresh from the stage is treating this like a stage performance, where’s Bruce Willis is playing a guy so jaded who really just hates himself. But what I liked about Rickman, aside from most of his body of work is that he would do anything. I hate the film Love Actually, and this blog puts it better than I ever could. But he is great in it. http://jezebel.com/i-rewatched-love-actually-and-am-here-to-ruin-it-for-al-1485136388
Here is just a quick rundown of my favourite roles
Truly, Madly, Deeply is a film when he may or may not have come back as a ghost. (Debate this in the comments, please) to ruin his girlfriends idealised image of him so she could move on. And that is magnificent.
Sense and Sensibility is a book I was forced to read and out of the Austen novels, my second least favourite after Emma, but his Colonel Brandon, you, like Marianna eventually fell in love with him. Proving he could be more than just the villain in the film. His performance, when he falls in love with the young Kate Winslet, felt more powerful then Elinor and Edward throughout the entire film.
Galaxy Quest akin to Leonard Nimoy playing Spock, when he hates being typecast (something Alan was also concerned about at times) but, in the end, embraced it. Does that sound familiar? But if you haven’t seen the film. Then check it out, it’s a film that celebrates Geeks and Geek culture.
Dogma, a universally sarcastic Angel, who’s seen it all going through a film about the Catholic faith, and how it tests us. While looking like he wants to drink and swallow tequila (just watch it), and going on a road trip with a woman who works at an abortion clinic, a man who was kicked out of the apostles for being black (like everyone was back then).
Along the two stoner antics of Jay and Silent Bob and last but not least Salma Hayek playing a stripper muse. Now I’ve sold you on this film aka the strangest road movie in film history.
However, his last film that I saw him in was A Little Chaos, which he directed, which reunited him with Kate Winslet. He plays Louis XIV of France and she plays his (fictional) gardener Sabine, and of course and once again they nailed their scenes.
This film is a genius because even though, it is viscerally stunning shows us how trapped these people are, by their gender, their place in society. Even the scene with the French Aristocracy of the 17th Century shows us how unhappy these people really are how they have to maintain a facade and as the final shot shows. No matter hard, we work. It’s nothing more than a small blip on the landscape of an even bigger picture.
However what made Alan stand out, what that, unlike some actors who openly care about Oscars and Awards and validation for their performances. He most certainly didn’t. He won a Bafta for Robin Hood and poked fun at himself.
He took parts that interested him, and looking back aside from Love Actually, An Awfully Big Adventure and Ok Help I’m a Fish, (voice work counts) had never been in a bad film. He loved his wife, family and just doing what he did.
So in concluding my tribute, just thanks, Alan, thank you for all the understated performances, the pantomime performances and we will mourn you, and salute you.
But mainly thanks for Robin Hood xx