A Tribute to Alan Rickman

I find my very first blog article must be a tribute to the late, wonderful Alan Rickman. How I will miss him. A posthumous tribute wasn’t what I had planned for my first blog post, but his unexpected death makes it absolutely necessary. As anyone who has read my gothic romance, ‘Disfigured’ or visited my website probably knows, I modeled my handsome and sadistic bad guy, Chief-Inspector Victor Gaston, on Alan Rickman. There was never anyone else in my mind, only Alan. It would be Alan Rickman in his early 50s, with his hair that windblown, russet-brown, and a neat beard. Nothing too messy or Sheriff-of-Nottingham, but still….think how lovely he would look in riding breeches and tall leather boots. I certainly did.

When I was writing my book, I knew I had to come up with a villain who would be exponentially much badder than Erik. Erik is not exactly a sympathetic character, what with his tendency to be controlling, demanding, stalking and his unfortunate habit of murdering people. In order for Erik to achieve some measure of redemption and become a sympathetic character, he has to be a hero, something which he definitely is not in Phantom of the Opera. When Sylvie falls into the clutches of Victor Gaston, you know she is in real distress, and Erik has a chance to redeem himself by saving her and dispatching the evil Gaston. And so, from the outset, Gaston is personified by Alan Rickman. I could see him in my mind just as if I were watching him in a movie, and how good he would have been!

I have had a crush on him ever since I saw him in Sense and Sensibility, as Colonel Brandon. That voice, that face, how well he sat a horse. Whew! Alan Rickman wasn’t exactly handsome, with those narrow, turned-down eyes, that long nose, and that funny way he had of wrinkling up his nose and eyes. But with his hair falling in his face, and that voice, he was handsome, and he could always project an air of menace with just a look, or a bit of body language. When I heard he was in the Robin Hood movie with Kevin Costner, I just had to rent it, and what a hoot he was in that! I have read somewhere that Costner had some of Rickman’s scenes cut because it was obvious he was stealing the movie away from the star. When he was on screen, you simply could not look away. Campy, snarly, audaciously wicked, and that death scene! It reminded me of a Warner Brothers cartoon, Wily Coyote maybe.

One of my favorite of his roles is Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest. Not once during the movie do you see him without his peculiar-looking latex skullcap and makeup, even when he is at home in a bathrobe. I love when the Tim Allen character asks him where he is going, after the ship has just been blasted up by the bad guy, he snarls, “to find a pub!” And when served live crickets for his dinner while everyone else is eating steak, he sighs, “just like mother used to make.” Galaxy Quest is a satisfying movie, sweetly satirizing everything silly about the Original Star Trek series, fun for fans to watch but fun even if you are not in on the jokes. Casting Alan Rickman in that was a stroke of genius.

Alan Rickman was a man of many talents – he could dance beautifully, swashbuckle with the best of them, was a gifted stage performer, could move with ease from sympathetic roles to wicked ones – but he always seemed down-to-earth and rather humble.

I have always said that his voice made me think of warm honey being poured over velvet. How sad it is that we will never hear it again. He will live on in his movie roles, but it just is not the same as knowing we inhabit a world with Alan Rickman in it.