When Alan Rickman lost his battle with cancer in January, the film and television industry lost one of its most distinctive voices. Fans will have a chance to hear the the actor's deep, sardonic calling card deliver new lines just two more times. In May 2016, Tim Burton's sequel to his trippy storybook fantasia Alice In Wonderland, Alice Through The Looking Glass, will arrive in theaters, with Rickman reprising the character of Absolem the Caterpillar in a vocal performance. Before that, audiences only have one final opportunity to see and hear Alan Rickman on screen. In the taut military drama, Eye In The Sky, out Mar. 11, Rickman plays Lieutenant General Frank Benson, part of a group of U.K. officers who are charged with dismantling a terrorist attack before it can begin, but are stalled by the potential for collateral civilian damage.
The movie co-stars Helen Mirren as a Colonel in military intelligence, Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi as an undercover operative, and Aaron Paul as an American drone pilot with his hand, more or less, on the trigger. Mirren paid tribute to her late co-star in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, even though the structure of Eye In The Sky meant that her and Rickman's scenes were filmed apart. "I think he'd be very proud of it to be his last movie," she says about the film below, which she describes as "a courtroom drama" presenting the evidence of one example of the countless ethical quandaries created by modern warfare. "It speaks to his sense of morality."
The two actors had been friendly for years before Rickman's death. (Mirren even presented him with his first BAFTA, for Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.) In addition to producing a legacy of incredible work, Mirren praised Rickman for being "the best person to go out to dinner with." He loved dining out and sharing stories, but the actor presented one prime reason he deserved that title. "He always insisted on paying the bill," Mirren remembered in the video above.
In this below clip from Eye In The Sky, Mirren's Colonel Powell and Rickman's General Benson argue the actions that are within their rights as peacekeepers. They've tracked a target to a house in Kenya; surveillance shows attack preparations underway. Intel also shows a young girl playing directly outside the building. Do they obliterate the target and the child along with it? Or do they abort and become responsible for many more deaths? "Give me a capture option," Benson commands. Powell doesn't see any possible one. "We need to expand our rules of engagement right now," she reasons. It's a anxious scene to represent an impossible choice.
Rickman's work will live on, in annual holiday rewatches of Christmas classics Love Actually and Die Hard; Harry Potter marathon weekends on Freeform; arch comedies like Galaxy Quest and Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy; and in so many more other serious and silly movies. But Eye In The Sky does bring about the end of an era; the thriller is one last chance for fans to bid farewell to Alan Rickman.
Image: Entertainment One