Alan Rickman Talks Playing Snape


Jul 30, 2011

Posted by Mel

In a new interview, Alan Rickman discusses the challenges and pleasures of playing Professor Severus Snape:

What has it been like playing an emotionally complex, ambiguous
character over these years? Has it been satisfying? Daunting? Both?

Well, it’s always rewarding to play people who are complicated because
that tests your acting machinery and places you right inside a great
piece of storytelling because great storytelling needs ambiguous
characters. It needs people where the audience and the readers don’t
quite know what they’re about. So, there’s a certain ‘who-done-it’
quality or ‘who-thunk-it’ or ‘who-done-what-to-him.’ And it helps you to
be very concentrated. I respond to what there is on the page and what
there was on the page was news to me every time we got to a new script.

Rickman also discusses filming at Leavesden Studios, and the legacy Harry Potter will leave:

Can you talk about shooting in Leavesden Studios? You think
of the amazing things that we see in these films, and Leavesden Studios
itself was one of the most unglamorous places but did have this magic
and this family inside of it that made amazing things happen. What was
it like working there?
It depended what the weather was
like. It didn’t have the best heating system in the world, but I was
more fortunate than others with my costume, which was always pretty
warm. So, on a practical level, as you say, it had its failings. But it
certainly was home to us. I think what happened, really, was that over
10 years, we watched technology take up and run away with it so that at
the beginning we were sometimes at Leavesden or sometimes on incredibly
detailed sets on the back lot, or we were off on location somewhere.
And, as time went on and CGI got better and better, we went on location
less and less until the end almost not at all, because it could all be
done by magic, appropriately enough. Someone waved a computerized wand,
and Hogwarts and its world was just created around us.

What do you think of the legacy of these eight films, or the
film series’ place in the history of cinema? It has had a huge impact on
British cinema, British filmmaking, but in general, what do you think
the legacy will be?

Well, I hope ultimately its legacy
is to make people cherish the notion of telling a story and not trying
to do it by committee; that it is possible to trust a true storyteller’s
imagination and then serve it as honorably as possible, and that you
might just wind up with something that’s entertaining on the one hand,
makes a load of money on the other, and gives enormous silent and not so
silent pleasure to children and grownups. It’s just a validation of
something that we need. It’s a human need to be told stories, and I
don’t think it can be done by committee. I think it has to be one
person’s imagination. So, here’s to Jo Rowling and all who may sail in

Rickman goes on to discuss working with the young cast, Ralph Fiennes (Voldemort), and J. K. Rowling’s input in the films. You can read the rest of the article here.

40 Responses to Alan Rickman Talks Playing Snape

Avatar ImageRadiance says: I imagine it WOULD be rather complicated and interesting playing Snape... Great to see the inside view. (:Avatar Imagepurpleleafgirl says: cool!! Avatar ImageGryffindorSlytherinTeen says: I agree with RadianceAvatar ImageElenakiMagic says: I agree :P Snape's role is very intresting :DAvatar ImageDawna says: He is the perfect Snape...I just love Alan Rickman!Avatar ImageLunaLuver says: Its wonderful hearing for Alan about playing Snape. He was perfect, no one could have done it better! :)Avatar Imageweasleywannabe1997 says: I love his last comments about our need for storytelling. So insightful! Avatar ImageFleur-de- Lily says: Its wonderful hearing for Alan about playing Snape. He was perfect, no one could have done it better! Avatar ImageRhemas says: I have seen him in other productions, I must say he was Spot-on with his work on Professor Snape. I wonder why after 8 movies this series has not gotten any awards beside photography, graphics(although thoughs did take the cake). Alan definately defined this character over 10yrs and 8 films!Avatar Imagekyrstalkris says: I really think he played it perfectly, either he really understood Snape, or is a really good actor (:Avatar ImageWON_TWO says: " by Grabthar's hammer... by the Sons of Warvan... you shall be... avenged."Avatar ImageMidnightSun321 says: Alan Rickman rocks!Avatar ImageHarryLoverAllRound says: Alan Rickman is so great as Snape. I love him. I thought that it was sweet that he won't say what Jo said to him. I think that its also nice that he doesn't want to comment on Dan and Emma, and Rupert's special relationship. Avatar ImageHalfbloodPrince08 says: best character , amazing actorAvatar Imagemaddison says: I love Alan Rickman nobody could play Snape better!Avatar ImageSlytherins says: Snape is, without a doubt, my favourite character of the series - so this was a very satisfying read. Alan's answers are so thorough and detailed and well thought out, as is always the case with him! It's always nice to have insight into how the cast regard their characters, how they feel certain things have changed over the years, the legacy that the series holds, etc. Thank you for posting!Avatar Imagebeewell says: Always a great interview from Rickman. No one else could have been Snape but him. Thanks for sharing Leaky!Avatar Imagejasygrama says: Great interview. Really appreciated Alan Rickman's performance of Snape all the way through, he a fantastic actor. Snape was my favorite actor in Harry Potter and you know that is saying alot since the performance by Dan, Ron, and Emma, and so many other British stars were absolutely the very best there is on this earth. It really isn't fair to say one is above the other because every actor in all the Potter movies were outstanding.Avatar Imagemagic fan says: Its wonderful hearing for Alan about playing Snape.I love Alan .Nobody could play Severus Snape better!And his voice...Snape is my favourite character of the series(and of course Hermione ) !Thank you very much for posting ;)Avatar ImageGene L. says: He's got one of the hardest task, I must say. Great job Alan Rickaman.Avatar Imagesiena says: Well, I just hope now that Mr Rickman seems to open up a little about Snape there'll be loads more detailed interviews soon ....Avatar ImageTheHeirOfSlytherin2 says: Wow, he's awesome! He's also great in Die Hard, too.Avatar Imagewandmastercalum says: Well done Alan for playing Snape!Avatar ImageValeria-Johanna says: @Siena, Have you seen this little insight into Alan's way of working, in an interview with David Yates? Avatar Imagejoe11093 says: Alan Rickman is amazing. He really deserves an OscarAvatar Imageginnygirl423 says: Snape was always a mystery to me.Avatar Imageginnygirl423 says: I didn't mean to post my commet yet... I like the guy who plays Snape, he is a great actor. So good job, for being mysterious....Avatar ImageCathrynOCamdentowne says: Especially that last section -Well said, Sir, well said indeed.Avatar ImageGiant Squid says: He is an amazing Snape! Couldn't ask for better!Avatar Imagewiz witch says: He's amazing and it's sooo sad near the end of the Deathly Hallows when we find out he loved Lily! And then he hugs her when she is dead as he cries. :'(Avatar ImageTeamRonmione says: Wow, I love him!Avatar ImageHogwartsForever says: Ridiculously talented actor. I saw him in a play back in November. It was the night that DH1 opened, but as consolation prizes go... It was a pretty awesome one. B)Avatar Imagearianneross says: You always blow our minds every time you're on screen, Rickman! That "Prince's Tale" sequence during the last Potter film left me absolutely breathless; I couldn't stop crying. It was the first time I saw Severus Snape's face with emotions deeper than apathy and disgust. <3Avatar Imageamelia 1-2-3- says: every one should join this group!! alan rickman deserves this!! please please please!!! here is the link: Imageamelia 1-2-3- says: every one should join this group!! alan rickman deserves this!! please please please!!! here is the link: ImageLedewl says: I giggled and laughed like crazy when snape died it was funny cuz he had it commingAvatar ImageSlytherinPrince says: BieberFever1250? You are the worst person in the world. Severus Snape was the good guy, and did NOT deserve to die. I balled my eyes out when I watched him die. So f**k off stupid pansy.Avatar ImageCorruptedNethicite says: Any character ar plays (Snape and Hans from Die Hard for examples) are amazing!Avatar Imageazaadpotter says: Alan rocksAvatar ImageJust a misfit says: This guy DEFINATELY deserves an academy award for his performance. If he doesn't ask yourself the following question " What has the world come to and how can I escape it?"

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