Playing the villain was no easy feat. Although Harry Potter fans will always cherish Alan Rickman’s portrayal of the complex character Professor Severus Snape, the late star often struggled with the role.
Rickman, who died of cancer in 2016, chronicled his experience bringing Snape to life in a collection of letters released for auction by Neil Pearson Rare Books. The British star’s personal diaries filled an archive of more than 38 boxes alongside fan mail, on-set photos, film scripts and a note from the franchise’s producer David Heyman. In the heartfelt message, Heyman thanked Rickman for his hard work on the second film released in 2002, The Chamber of Secrets.
“Thank you for making HP2 a success,” Heyman wrote. “I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.”
Rickman documented his aggravation with the role in a note titled, “Inside Snape’s Head,” while shooting 2009’s The Half-Blood Prince.
“It is as if [our director] David [Yates] has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal,” penned the Golden Globe winner.
Despite Rickman’s trying experience playing Snape, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling kept his spirits high. “Just back from weeks away and had to send a line about what you wrote in the souvenir programme for Hallows II Made me very tearful,” the author wrote in a heartfelt letter. “Thank *you* for doing justice to my most complex character.”
Snape perished in the last Harry Potter movie, Deathly Hallows Part II, at the hands of villain Lord Voldemort. After his death, the audience learned that the seemingly evil Snape was a double agent all along and secretly worked with Dumbledore (Richard Harris) to protect Harry (Daniel Radcliffe).
According to The Independent, Rickman’s memorabilia is worth more than $1.2 million and also includes scripts from his other projects, including Die Hard, Truly Madly Deeply and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
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