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25 Facts About Alan Rickman, Who Got a Part in a Movie Because He Was a “Cheap Actor”

A great theater actor, a perfect candidate for any villain role, the owner of one of the most memorable voices in the history of cinema — all these things are true about Alan Rickman. On February 21, 2020, he would have turned 74 years old.

We at Bright Side learned some more about this actor and decided to share some interesting facts with you.

  • He was the son of a Welsh mother, Margaret Doreen Rose, and an Irish father Bernard William Rickman.

  • His parents were very conservative people, which influenced Rickman. One of the rules of their house was that children were supposed to be as quiet as possible.

  • Alan had 2 brothers, David and Michael, and a sister Sheila. When Alan was 8 years old, his father died of lung cancer. After his death, it was very hard for their mother to raise the children, this is why they always knew how hard it was to earn money and why they were always ready to work to help the family.

  • In his childhood, Alan was quite good at calligraphy and watercolor painting. Later, he said that a profession as a designer seemed more stable and in demand.

  • After finishing college, Rickman and his friends opened a studio of calligraphy design called Graphiti. But after 3 years, he decided that he still wanted to be an actor and he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. During his studies, Alan was a costume designer.

  • The role in Christopher Hampton’s play, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, was the biggest success for Rickman. This was when producers saw him and offered him the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

  • Alan himself said that he got the part in this film only because he was a “cheap” actor. The producers paid $7 million to Bruce Willis, so they had to find other actors that wouldn’t demand a lot of money.

  • On the set, Rickman’s principles led to a very expensive pause in the shooting process for one day. It wasn’t because of some creative crisis. Rickman totally refused to throw Bonnie Bedelia down, who played the main female character: as evil Hans Gruber, he was supposed to do this. But the actor thought it was too much and that it was inappropriate.

  • During the shooting of the scene where Gruber falls from the building, the stuntman literally threw Rickman on a pillow that was about 12 feet away. They had agreed to do it on the count of 3, but the stuntman did it on 2, so we can see the real emotions of the actor.

  • Rickman was not the type of person that was easy to talk to during an interview. He made a list of topics he wouldn’t talk about: family, relationships, the talent for playing villains. Also, he didn’t want to talk about any of the aspects of acting, because this was too complicated. Also, he thought that his clothes were a boring subject for a conversation.

  • There is a legend that he kept refusing the role of the sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves until he was allowed to do anything with the character that he wanted. As a result, he won a BAFTA award.

  • Rickman was the only actor that appeared twice on the list of the “Greatest Villains of all Time” for his roles in Die Hard and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

  • Despite the fact that J.K. Rowling created Severus Snape with Alan Rickman in mind, he might have not even gotten this part in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The actor got the part only after Tim Roth left the project and chose to star in Planet of the Apes.

  • Soon after Alan started playing Severus Snape, Rowling revealed some of the secrets of this character to him, that were not unveiled until the last book was released. More than that, for more than 7 years, Rickman was one of the few people who knew that Snape was in love with Lily. Rowling said that she shared this information because Alan had to understand where these negative feelings toward this boy were coming from. He was living proof of the fact that she had chosen a different man. When the directors of the films asked Rickman why he played certain scenes in certain ways, he just said that he knew something that they didn’t know.

  • During the shooting process of the scene with the sleeping bags in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), and Alfonso Cuarón decided to prank Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). And the time, he liked a girl and he asked to be placed near her. When it was time to start the shooting process, it turned out that the men put a fart machine in his bag. According to Cuarón, Daniel tried really hard to stay in character while everyone else was laughing.

  • The first film he watched was Swiss Family Robinson, which he saw in 1960. And the film that changed his life was Robert Altman’s Nashville.

  • Even though Alan was a really successful actor, he often turned down offers to participate in movies in order to have more time for the theater. The theater was a place he called magic and his first love.

  • At the age of 19, Rickman met 18-year-old Rima Horton. For a while they just talked and then they started dating. 12 years later, they started living together.

  • In 2015, Rickman confirmed the information that they had gotten married in a private ceremony in New York 47 years after they met each other. In an interview, he mentioned that everything went great, because nobody was there. After their marriage, they walked down the Brooklyn Bridge and had dinner at a cafe. And even though Rima didn’t want a ring, Alan bought her one for $200. But she never really wore it.

  • Rickman and Horton didn’t have children.

  • Rickman was an active philanthropist for the research fund Saving Faces and president of the International Performers’ Aid Trust that fought against poverty among performers across the entire world.

  • Alan is Tom Burke’s (Third Star, War & Peace, The Musketeers) godfather.

  • In 2000, he appeared in a Texas’ music video for “In Demand.”

  • 2 researchers, a linguist, and a sound director found that the combination of Alan Rickman’s and Jeremy Irons’s voices creates the perfect male voice.

  • The last projects of the actor Eye in the Sky and Alice Through the Looking Glass were dedicated to his memory.

Which of Alan Rickman’s roles was the most memorable to you? Which of his movies do you like to watch over and over again?