Alan Rickman’s secret journals reveal why the actor continued to play Severus Snape


More than six years after his passing, the secret journals of actor Alan Rickman is shedding new light on why he continued to play Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies.

The actor passed in January 2016 in London at 69 years of age, after quietly battling prostate cancer, which he was first diagnosed with in 2005. 

It was announced in June that Henry Holt & Company will publish Madly Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman in October, with The Guardian publishing excerpts from the journal over the weekend, shedding new light on his role in the Harry Potter movies.

Severus: More than six years after his passing, the secret journals of actor Alan Rickman is shedding new light on why he continued to play Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies

Cancer: The actor passed in January 2016 in London at 69 years of age, after quietly battling prostate cancer, which he was first diagnosed with in 2005

Cancer: The actor passed in January 2016 in London at 69 years of age, after quietly battling prostate cancer, which he was first diagnosed with in 2005

The actor was first diagnosed with prostrate cancer before production began on the fifth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

He received treatment and underwent a procedure to have his prostrate removed in January 2006, and in a journal entry dated January 30, 2006, he revealed why he ‘finally’ agreed to return for Order of the Phoenix.

‘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,”‘ Rickman stated.

Treatment: The actor was first diagnosed with prostrate cancer before production began on the fifth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Treatment: The actor was first diagnosed with prostrate cancer before production began on the fifth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Finally yes: '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,"' Rickman stated

Finally yes: ‘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,”‘ Rickman stated

A few months later in April, he shared an entry from the set, revealing he has never been less chatty on the set.

‘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, he said.

Another journal entry from July 27, 2007 reveals Rickman’s thoughts after reading J.K. Rowling’ final Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Costume: '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, he said

Costume: ‘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, he said

Journal: Another journal entry from July 27, 2007 reveals Rickman's thoughts after reading J.K. Rowling' final Harry Potter book - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Journal: Another journal entry from July 27, 2007 reveals Rickman’s thoughts after reading J.K. Rowling’ final Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

‘… 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,’ Rickman says. 

‘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,’ he added.

He also detailed his first conversation with Rowling in October 2000, which started rather oddly.

Last book: '¿ 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,' Rickman says

Last book: ‘… 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,’ Rickman says

‘First conversation with Joanne Rowling. Her sister answers – “She’s not here – can I leave a message?” [There is] cackling in the background … “Sorry about that! … ”’ he wrote.

He added that he tells her, ‘There are things that only Snape & you know – I need to know,’ adding that she replied, ‘You’re right – call me tomorrow; no one else knows these things.’

The next day he wrote, ‘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 … “‘ Rickman added.

He also shared his thoughts after watching the first Harry Potter movie, stating, ‘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.’ 

Conversation: 'First conversation with Joanne Rowling. Her sister answers ¿ ¿She¿s not here ¿ can I leave a message?¿ [There is] cackling in the background ¿ ¿Sorry about that! ¿ ¿' he wrote

Conversation: ‘First conversation with Joanne Rowling. Her sister answers – “She’s not here – can I leave a message?” [There is] cackling in the background … “Sorry about that! … ”’ he wrote

Snape: He added that he tells her, 'There are things that only Snape & you know ¿ I need to know,' adding that she replied, 'You¿re right ¿ call me tomorrow; no one else knows these things'

Snape: He added that he tells her, ‘There are things that only Snape & you know – I need to know,’ adding that she replied, ‘You’re right – call me tomorrow; no one else knows these things’

Lives: '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 ¿ "' Rickman added

Lives: ‘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 … “‘ Rickman added



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