"As far as I'm concerned, I'm not playing 'the villain.' I'm just playing somebody who wants certain things in life, has made certain choices, and goes after them."
— on playing amoral mass-murdering corporate thief Hans Gruber
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 William Shakespeare
, theatre and single episode spots on the television, Alan Rickman
(February 21, 1946-) 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 interesting character in the 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
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 played, of all things, a painter named Ed in the 1989 "January Man
". 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 slumming it in sci-fi. In 2003, he played a caring yet utterly deadpan office boss who may or may not have had an affair with his assistant
. He also played Ronald Reagan
in Lee Daniels' The Butler
He also recites poetry
. Very interesting
poetry. And he makes tea
in a very interesting
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:
- Badass Baritone: One of the reasons he's consistently chosen for villain roles.
- Chronically Killed Actor: A part of being a villain is that you're probably going to be dead by movie's end.
- Classically Trained Extra: His character in Galaxy Quest. Averted in real life as he seems to very much enjoy being action villains and snarky wizards.
- Dramatic Pause: Is... a... big... fan.
- Evil Brit: One of the Trope makers.
- Evil Sounds Deep: See Badass Baritone above.
- Fake American: His most iconic part in Die Hard, he has also used it on a guest spot in King of the Hill.
- Large Ham: In addition to being very interesting people, his roles also frequently tend to be this.
- Mean Character Nice Actor: Look through his filmography on IMDb. It includes Hans Gruber, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Alexander Dane, Severus Snape, and Rasputin, who is... Rasputin. Off-screen, Rickman is a low-key, modest man who stays out of the limelight, avoids the paparazzi, and when it comes to his fans, he's a giant freaking teddy bear, quick with the jokes and hugs.
- Those Two Actors: With Emma Thompson.
When Alan saw the breadth of his article, he wept, for there were no more Tropes to conquer.