Not the N° 5, it is too sweet. It takes a fresh essence, that smells good as he was. This is the imaginary chronicle of an interview I ever made to the person with whom I wanted to make it the most of all. For which I would have expected, and then reclaimed. It is not the character to chase, it is the man that has existed and by virtue of this being present in his unique and special way he took a piece of my heart.
The first time I noticed Alan Rickman was in the distinctive role of Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility by Ang Lee, adapted from Jane Austen. Every syllable of his mouth was a caress, every gesture a love proffer for the distracted Kate Winslet, taken with other heartbreaks. It was the very moment when my eyes rested on Brandon that I realized that, without realizing it, he had already entered my subconscious like Hans Gruber, the head of the terrorists in Die Hard. The truth makes its way somewhere between the innate class he showed on the scene, the Hammersmith inflection, the London neighborhood where he grew up, the theater gym, soft hands, the sinuous curve of the lips and that dress, whom he had asked to wear instead of a normal suit, to give more personality to the character.
It is the nature of the Villain – he hated to be called that – that slips under the skin. It was his first film role. The villain in a glittering Hollywood action film. At the time he was engaged on the cheap, and so the director and producer found an actor with a capital A, that can obscure the star. The two had seen him play on Broadway in the role of the Vicomte de Valmont. No doubt: take off the eighteenth-century costumes, put on a pearl gray and he is Hans. They engaged him.
41 years. An age when people wise up. For Alan is the debut on the big screen, after working his way up through classic and experimental plays on English stages.
The forties are the Zenith in Alan Rickman’s age. A flower grown up on the concrete, cultivated in theater, which has not undermine genuineness, it only has increased purity. He came from the working class and provoked thoughts of royalty in colleagues, even in younger and established ones.
“Lord Rickman of the Alan” Benedict Cumberbatch used to call him, and behind the tone of mockery, for that voice so deep and manly that others would have signed on the dotted line, we see great affection and admiration. “Uh the Voice, That Voice” sighing Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren, author of one of the most burning farewells to this immense talent, love ghost and gentleman.
He knew well the stage anxiety and he made of it a wonderful outing. He liked the risk factor. It makes me think back to when I go to the theater and while seeking a place for the coat, apart from the curtains there is an actor with palpitations who does autogenic training. He enters the scene … and on. Make it or break it. Now, if never before, Alan’s words seem prophetic: “Theater is deadly.”
I would like to move back the hands of time to a masked ball in which I meet the Sheriff of Nottingham. I would make him read Shakespeare’s sonnets with the voice vibration he prefers. Warm fuzzies, aplenty: now and forever.
Cover: Alan Rickman