TV & Movies

Alan Rickman's Diary Reveals Why He Considered Leaving Harry Potter

The late actor’s words give a behind-the-scenes account of his life and work.

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape in the 'Harry Potter' film franchise.
Warner Bros.

We can’t envision the iconic Harry Potter films without the late Alan Rickman’s remarkable performance as the shiver-inducing Severus Snape. But as it happens, that could have been a very real possibility. As excerpts from the newly-released Madly Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman reveal, the actor was in two minds about returning for each instalment of the eight-part film franchise.

Ahead of filming Harry Potter And The Philsopher’s Stone, he wrote that he was “feeling a bit nothing about HP, which really disturbs me.” After the release of the second film, he went on to write: “Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it.” It was only in 2005, before the fifth instalment was released, that Rickman seemingly made peace with his returning role. The same year he was diagnosed with a rare form of prostate cancer, and after rigorous surgeries, he wrote, “Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story.’”

For so many who grew up with Harry Potter, reading Rickman’s diaries is the insider access that we could only ever dream of. The actor also wrote that after reading the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, he appreciated Snape’s “rite of passage.” Moreover, he found his character’s on-screen death “unsettling.” He had some pretty interesting thoughts about Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, too. About Radcliffe, he remarked that he might “really be an actor, but he will undoubtedly direct/produce” whereas he said that Watson’s diction was “this side of Albania, at times.”

Rickman reserved his highest compliments for Alfonso Cuarón, the Oscar winning-director of Prisoner of Azkaban. He believed Cuarón did an extraordinary job and wrote, “It is a very grown-up movie, so full of daring that it made me smile and smile. Every frame of it is the work of an artist and storyteller.”