For many young people, Alan Rickman’s most-famous role remains that of Severus Snape, the would-be antagonist and anti-hero of the Harry Potter film series. Yet for the veteran star, who died in 2016, it was a part he struggled with – because he felt the character wasn’t well developed enough.
According to his private papers, which were sold at auction at the ABA’s Rare Book Fair in London, Rickman believed that his character was being overlooked. On a note written by the actor during filming of 2009’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince reads: ‘It’s as if [the film's director] David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal.’
Similar frustrations were evident in 2002, with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ director David Hayman sending Rickman a conciliatory postcard after filming stopped.
‘Thank you for making [2002's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets] a success’, Hayman writes. ‘I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.’
The collection of letters also reveals correspondence with Prince Charles, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton (all clearly Harry Potter fans) as well as author JK Rowling. There’s also Rickman’s script for Die Hard, in which he played infamous villain Hans Gruber, and the script for Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, in which he played the Sheriff of Nottingham. It was valued at £950,000.