The man, the legend, the acting god that is Alan Rickman died this week. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you guys know how I first came to be acquainted with Rickman’s talent, and how I remember this consummate actor, now he’s passed away.
Silver screen favourite
I don’t actually remember when this happened, so please forgive me for being vague. At some point in the 90s, I watched a little cult classic film called Dogma. It tells the story of an ordinary woman who works at an abortion clinic in the States. Only she isn’t so ordinary; she’s a descendant of Jesus Christ and she has to stop two angels who were banished from heaven aeons ago from re-entering God’s Kingdom and thus “negating all existence!”
I won’t give away the rest of the plot (no spoilers here!), but I will tell you that it was a fascinating production. It explored heavy themes such as religion, societal discrimination, gender politics and the infallibility of an all-powerful deity with gentle humour, graceful depth and subtle irony. I loved Dogma so much that it remains one of my favourite films of all time to this very day.
Time with Rickman
Part of Dogma‘s charm was it’s all star cast. The flick featured a raft of famous faces such as Alanis Morissette (she played God, how awesome is that!), Jay and Silent Bob, Salma Hayek Matt Damon and Ben Afleck. Meanwhile a British actor by the name of Alan Rickman portrayed the role of the angel Metatron, who serves as the voice of (an absent) god and tells the lead character what she needs to do to save the day.
And so that was the first time I met Alan Rickman, and his stand out performance as Metatron spoke to me. He was dry yet witty, stern yet charming, sarcastic yet empathetic to the main characters plight. The layers Rickman imbued within his performance proved without even a shadow of the smallest doubt that he was a highly talented professional.
I would meet Alan Rickman, via the silver screen of course, twice more in my young life. Once in Love Actually, and once as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. Both times, Rickman’s ability to completely inhabit the skin of the characters he portrayed seared a distinctive mark onto my young mind.
So when I heard of Alan Rickman’s passing, I didn’t quite believe it. Just to let you guys know (if you haven’t seen it splashed across Facebook already), according to the BBC he died from cancer aged 69. I don’t think many of you would disagree with me when I say he was taken from us far too soon.
I know it sounds selfish, but after I came to grips with Alan Rickman’s death all I could think of was myself. It felt like just the tiniest piece of my childhood was ripped away from me and in a strange sense it had been. I didn’t know the man personally, so I knew him as his characters, I knew him as Metatron and Severus. His death brought theirs too, and suddenly a small chunk of my earliest years was gone forever.
So I remember Alan Rickman for the roles he played, not for the man he was, and maybe that’s how all actors would like to be remembered when they’re gone. His raw talent was so fierce that he truly made a young Joe Davis believe that his characters were real and isn’t that the job of an actor, to convince us that they’re somebody else? If this is the job of an actor, then Alan Rickman was a professional actor of the highest calibre, and that’s how I’ll always remember him.