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Old 09-25-2022, 09:36 PM
masterofmystery masterofmystery is offline
Post Alan Rickman's diaries reveal his thoughts on filming 'Harry Potter', Snape & more

More than a decade of diary excerpts from Alan Rickman's life were released from his upcoming Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, via the Guardian. The book is available on October 18, 2022 and can be pre-ordered here.

The length of excerpts showed Rickman's thoughts from getting cast in the Harry Potter film series and talking to J.K. Rowling about Snape's secrets and true intentions, to finishing the saga a decade after.

Rickman was brutally honest in what he thought about his costars - including Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson - his joy of working with the older actors including Sir Michael Gambon and Dame Maggie Smith, his thoughts on the four directors of the saga, and more.

There is one notable bit that Rickman wanted to leave the Harry Potter films after Chamber of Secrets, but his team ignored his requests. He played it on through the end.

Excerpts on casting and filming Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone:


21 September
10.30am Car to costume fitting/discussion. Measurements from hell after a month in Italy. Waltz around each other – higher collar? Blue fabric? Thinner arms? And off to Leavesden Studios. Chris Columbus [director], David Heyman [producer], Makeup dept waiting. Wig? Nose?

7 October
Talk to Joanne Rowling again and she nervously lets me in on a few glimpses of Snape’s background. Talking to her is talking to someone who lives these stories, not invents them. She’s a channel – bubbling over with, “Well, when he was young, you see, this, that and the other happened” – never, “I wanted so & so … “
10 October

The scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – the first film in the series – where Hedwig the owl delivers Harry’s broomstick: ‘Dave, the trainer, hadn’t slept worrying about it all’
The scene from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Hedwig the owl delivers Harry’s broomstick, the Nimbus 2000: ‘Dave, the trainer, hadn’t slept worrying about it all.’ Photograph: PA

11am Kings X for train to Newcastle, and then car to Alnwick Castle [AKA Hogwarts] and a (three-hour … ) makeup for camera test. Criss-crossing of pluses and minuses – pale face = v ageing; false nose-piece needs heavy makeup etc. General atmosphere is friendly and a mite chaotic.

7.45pm To the tapas restaurant with Sean [Biggerstaff] and Robbie Coltrane for many plates of deep-fried indulgences before going to the hotel for red wine and a bag of chocolates from the mini-bar. Hopeless …

11 December
7am Back to Harry P. The Great Hall with Maggie Smith, Zoë Wanamaker, Ian Hart, Richard Harris – all in their ways sweet, funny souls. But this is Tick Off The Shots filming – no big speech about the scene and what we’re all thinking. Maybe there isn’t time … Maybe … Too many people involved in the decisions. A hat has been made for Snape. A hat? For Snape? Fortunately Chris Columbus is also a sweet, funny soul and you kind of guess what he’s thinking, what he wants. Certainly if you step outside that he’s in sharpish. So it gets done. And it all looks just fine.

4 November
6.30pm The film should only be seen on a big screen. It acquires a scale and depth that matches the hideous score by John Williams. Party afterwards at the Savoy is much more fun.
Excerpts on filming Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:


14 January
6.50am pick-up (writing this with the wide-awake-at-2am thing) Nice to see them all again but it’s a dreamlike thing, as if it has never stopped. And in a way, it hasn’t – and won’t …

Richard Harris is enveloped in flu – a cue for Maggie Smith to encase her face in a scarf.

2 April

7.15 pick-up Up in the Quidditch tower with Miriam Margolyes (about to be OBE and 20lbs lighter – as she tells me in her fairly inimitable way) and Jason Isaacs – who has just become a dad for the first time. The usual nodding-heads-at-numbers scene but quicker this time and we’re out by lunchtime.

4 December
Talking to [agent] Paul Lyon-Maris about HP exit, which he thinks will happen. But here we are in the project-collision area again. Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it.
Excerpts on filming Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban:


14 April
7am pick-up Top table stuff w. David Thewlis, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Warwick Davis.

More of the same really. But what else can you do except get the shots – a choir, 300 children, one speech. People reading in the background.

2 May
8.40am pick-up Corridor with Dan Radcliffe. He’s so concentrated now. Serious and focused – but with a sense of fun. I still don’t think he’s really an actor but he will undoubtedly direct/produce. And he has such quiet, dignified support from his parents. Nothing is pushed.

30 July
7am pick-up Snape/Lupin Classroom.

The day got off to a fabulous start with the screen guillotining on to my head, a sudden, swift blackout followed by day-long melancholy. Alfonso [Cuarón, director] was quietly ballistic with me. I love him too much to let it last too long so I wailed offset and we sorted it out. He’s under the usual HP pressure and even he starts rehearsing cameras before actors, and these kids need directing. They don’t know their lines and Emma [Watson]’s diction is this side of Albania at times. Plus my so-called rehearsal is with a stand-in who is French.

23 May
4pm Harry Potter 3. World Premiere.

Arriving at Radio City was like being a Beatle. Thousands of fans screamed as we got out of cars. Mostly for Daniel Radcliffe but a rush for everyone. Not to mention walking out on to the stage to 6,000.

Alfonso has done an extraordinary job. It is a very grown-up movie, so full of daring that it made me smile and smile. Every frame of it is the work of an artist and storyteller. Stunning effects that are somehow part of the life of the film, not show-off stunts. Later back to the hotel w. Ariel Dorfman, who takes egomania to utterly charming heights. He just loves being him.
Excerpts on filming Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:


28 September
HP [4].
7.55am pick-up Smacking the backs of Daniel [Radcliffe] & Rupert [Grint]’s heads – doubtless a fuss will ensue about corporal punishment.

11 November
7.15am pick-up In Dumbledore’s office with Maggie … My speech is unlearnable. So some serious laughing goes on. Plus Maggie’s stories of the Ladies in Lavender premiere: “Miriam Margolyes looked like a Sherman tank in sequins.”

13 December
7am pick-up Last scene with Pedja [actor Predrag Bjelac] who I rudely described as [like] working with a sideboard on wheels. Nothing to do with him as a (complex, delightful) person but more to do with the way he manages to bang into you at any opportunity.

I feel so shafted on this film with all Mike’s [director Mike Newell] best motives. He’s under pressure (like Alfonso) and everything is about the shot. We only talk about the scene on about take four. Plus ça change.
Excerpts on filming Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:


30 January
Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: “See it through. It’s your story.”
12 April
6.45am pick-up

I realise as soon as that [Snape’s] ring and costume go on – something happens. It becomes alien to be chatty, smiley, open. The character narrows me down, tightens me up. Not good qualities on a film set. I have never been less communicative with a crew. Fortunately, Dan [Radcliffe] fills that role with ease and charm. And youth.

Excerpts on reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in July 2007:

20 July
11.15pm Tunbridge Wells and Waterstones. I had guessed at 20 or 30 people waiting for midnight. Probably 300-400. And a queue moving slowly. One hour in the queue and it was time for action. Went to friendly security man. “Have you read the books?” No. “Have you seen the films?” One of them. “I’m in them.” Oh yes! There will be mayhem if I go into the queue. “I’ll get the manager.”

(Manager arrives.) “Oh! Hello!”

27 July
… I have finished reading the last Harry Potter book. Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus. This was a genuine rite of passage. One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hang on to.
Excerpts on filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:


4 February
HP 6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Day One.
Thank God I could do the coat up without visible strain at the seams.

7 February
8.15am pick-up Car park. Paparazzi. Freezing cloister of Gloucester Cathedral. A whole new working relationship, this time with Tom Felton [playing Draco Malfoy]. The story of this so-far-six-part epic is one minute there were all these little kids … now? Found Maggie in her trailer vulnerable and f--k-it – all at once.

10 March
The line “take out your wand” reduces Helena Bonham Carter to helpless mirth and will be a bit of a Waterloo come Thursday … Helen McCrory says she’s terrified but fits like a glove with the mayhem.

9 July
Party at the Natural History Museum. The desire to eat and even more get a drink is matched only by the need to bang the three Davids’ heads [Harry Potter producers David Heyman and David Barron, and director David Yates] against the nearest wall. I get the character development and the spiffing effects (dazzling), but where is the story????
Excerpts on filming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:


25 November
HP [7].
6.15am pick-up To the Flight Shed …

Cold, wet, draughty but the crew seem miles away so Ralph and I can just get on with inching our way towards the scene. David Y stubborn as ever about V[oldemort] killing me with a spell. (Impossible to comprehend, not least the resultant wrath of the readers.) Great working with Ralph, though. Direct and true and inventive and free.

Back home and Rima (narrative brainbox) says, “He can’t kill you with a spell – the only one that would do that is Avada Kedavra and it kills instantly – you wouldn’t be able to finish the scene.”

26 November
6.15am pick-up
The Death of Snape. Nearly 10 years later. At least it’s just down to two actors … David is vulnerable and endearing when he’s excited. And he is by this scene. It’s the absolute example of what can happen when a couple of actors pick up a scene off the page and work with the story, the space and each other. Stuart Craig’s boathouse [set] gave it something ironic and everlasting. As I said at one point to David – it’s all a bit epic and Japanese.

14 January
6.30am pick-up After a night of not sleeping at all. Scene 305. Or – The Last Breath of Severus Snape.

Here I am with Dan, Emma and Rupert 10 (?) years on (Emma is here on a break from Brown University), blood all over my throat from an imagined Nagini [Voldemort’s pet snake], the three of them still with furrowed brows and panting a bit. Finding it hard to remember any particular scenes over the years mainly because all the decisions are taken in committee rooms and not on the floor. We listen as DY [director David Yates] tells us what we are thinking and why (and in some cases recounts the story … ) and a small piece of something creative caves in.

8 March
3.15pm To HP to rehearse with Michael Gambon. On the way back to the trailer Michael talks of his fear of learning/forgetting his lines. And then he tells me he’s doing Krapp’s Last Tape – what’s wrong with this picture??

10 March
Just me and Michael G. All day. He’s vulnerable after his illness and yesterday’s primer was no joke for him. The lines are a real problem for him. Technology helps and why not? It’s never great when it’s just a memory loss – no relaxation, no freedom, no contact. I’d have boards and autocue everywhere. And anyway when he unleashes a bit of magnificence it’s effortless and spellbinding.

29 March
6.15am pick-up
All a bit hard to believe. I think even Daniel was shocked by the finality. Cameras were everywhere, it seemed (docu ones). [I am asked] “So how does it feel?” Before you’ve felt it, before the feeling has a name. “It’s private,” I managed, “and I’m not sharing it with that” pointing at his lens.

Something is in those cans and it is finished. Thanks, Jo.

7 July
To Trafalgar Square – which takes an hour. Once there, red carpets everywhere. A screen, a platform, an interviewer and thousands screaming and singing, “Snape, Snape, Severus Snape … ” The carpet snakes into Leicester Square for the film at 8pm.

I found it unsettling to watch – it has to change horses midstream to tell the Snape story and the camera loses concentration. Audience, however, very happy.
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