I don't play villains, I play very interesting people.For someone who doesn't play villains, he is very very good at it.After doing the standard English Man In Hollywood origin full of Shakespeare, theatre and single episode spots on the television, Alan Rickman managed to move over to the USA by serving his revenge cold as the Vicomte de Valmont (a very interesting man with some questionable morals) in Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Broadway. He also starred in Truly Madly Deeply, a cultured version of Ghost. Then his first big screen role was the lovable Magnificent Bastard Hans Gruber in Die Hard who set up a Batman Gambit in order to steal 600 million dollars in negotiable bearer bonds. He had to kill a few people to get the money which was certainly not very nice but he did so with memorable Bond One Liners, and personally ad-libbed the infamous "Mr. Takagi did not see it that way... so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life."There is also the pantomime villain Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, who proved to be a better thief than that Costner fellow by stealing every scene he was in. Deliciously villainous and by far the most very interesting character in the movie. (As one viewer put it, Rickman seemed to be in a different movie than anyone else in the cast, and she would have preferred to see that movie.)Also while Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films is meant to be a sympathetic bastard with a not so happy past for some reason, people keep feeling sorry for him and see him as a normal guy who just need a hug regardless and well as feeling a few other things. Technically not a villain! Sort of. A little bit.He also played a bad guy in Quigley Down Under, as well as Judge Turpin in the 2007 Tim Burton film version of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Still there are plenty of clearly not villainous, still very interesting roles that he has done.He played Colonel Brandon in a film adaptation of Sense And Sensibility. He was the Metatron, the voice of Almighty God, in Dogma (appearing first on screen while on fire is certainly interesting), a role which he took after being a fan of Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy but which he took with one strict condition: don't change anything in the script. He was also the voice of Marvin in the 2005 film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In 1999 he starred in Galaxy Quest, where he played a Shakespearean actor who refused to say a line beginning with "By Grabthar's hammer". In 2003, he played a caring yet utterly deadpan office boss who may or may not have had an affair with his assistant. That one wasn't that interesting though.He also recites poetry . Very interesting poetry. And he makes tea in a very interesting way.He also helped compile the one-woman play My Name Is Rachel Corrie out of the letters, emails, and journals of the title character.The page quote comes from a anecdote told by John Sessions on QI, as seen here. The quote is at 2:40, but Sessions is doing an impression for most of the clip.
Mr. Rickman provides very interesting examples of: