We have lost another movie icon last week, as Alan Rickman passed away at the age of 69 from cancer. His dear ones, fellow actors and movie producers, as well as countless fans are remembering a compassionate man with an immense talent and a trademark voice. Although he started his acting career later than others, he had remarkable roles, the most memorable ones being the one of Professor Snape in the Harry Potter series and the one of Hans Gruber in Die Hard. However, there are several wonderful lesser known facts about Alan Rickman that you should be aware of.
1. He believed in the responsibility of actors
Rickman believed that once you were lucky enough to be born with talent, you also acquired a great responsibility. For instance, when he performed as Éamon de Valera in the Irish biopic Michael Collins in 1996, he publicly disapproved of the cinematic ending in the Hollywood style. The actor considered that a historically accurate version should have been tackled, as art is also responsible for educating, not only entertaining.
2. He started out as a graphic designer
One of the lesser known facts about Alan Rickman is that he started out by studying graphic design. First at the Chelsea College of Art and Design, and later at the Royal College of Art in London, he continued his work by opening his own studio named Graphiti in SoHo. There he designed album sleeves, book jackets, illustrations and layouts for magazines and book jackets. However, this proved to be financially straining, and so the actor moved to working in a fringe theater at 26 years old, and then attended the courses of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
3. His marriage was truly unique
Rickman met Rima Horton in 1965 at a drama club, and dated her until 2012 when the two were finally married. The ceremony was quite unique, since they took a stroll over the Brooklyn Bridge in order to celebrate their vows.
4. His Die Hard experience involved some unexpected moments
The Die Hard movie contains several lesser known facts about Alan Rickman. Everyone remembers the famous scene of Hans Gruber falling to his death. In truth, when filming this scene, Rickman was dropped a bit earlier and thus his expression did capture genuine surprise. Many years later, he managed to get his retribution when filming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, since he was at the other end and could witness the action from another perspective. Furthermore, during the first scene he shot in Die Hard, he somehow managed to tear a cartilage. However, he returned and continued filming.
5. He refused to play Frank Sinatra
Among the roles turned down by Rickman was the one of Frank Sinatra. The movie that never came to be was supposed to be a biopic. The actor stated that at times producers are throwing any kinds of offers to actors, regardless of their talents. It is also worthy of mention that Rickman initially turned down the role of Hans Gruber in Die Hard, and refused the role of the Sheriff in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves twice before finally accepting the deal.
6. He never watched his scenes in movies
Another one of the lesser known facts about Alan Rickman is that he never watched any of his performances on-screen. In an interview from last year, he declared that after each role he plays he thinks it is finished and there is no point on continuing to reminisce on it.
7. He Was Afraid of Guns
Rickman did not like guns, so you can imagine that turned a bit problematic on the set of Die Hard. Every time he had to shoot a gun he flinched, so director John McTiernan had the challenge of working around the actor’s reactions. You can still notice this in the finished cut of the movie, during the scene where he shoots Takagi.