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Alan Rickman’s Diary Reveals Why He Played Snape In ‘Harry Potter’ Despite Cancer Battle

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“Wake up at 5am. 5:4am Drove to the hospital. 6am Pre-op. This is like a film set. Nothing seems real,” he wrote Alan Rickman on Jan. 5, 2006, according to The Guardianwhich published excerpts of Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman before the book’s release. Alan, who passed away in 2016 due to pancreatic cancer, spent 2005 undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of prostate cancer, resulting in surgery to remove his entire prostate. Despite this and earlier intentions to leave the Harry Potter franchise, Rickman committed to playing his character in the final films. “Finally, yes to HP 5,” Alan wrote on Jan. 30, 2006.

“The sensation is neither up nor down,” he wrote, before adding the reasoning behind his decision. “The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story.’” On Apr. 12, 2006, he wrote, “I realize as soon as that [Snape’s] ring and costume go on – something happens. It becomes alien to be chatty, smiley, open. The character narrows me down, tightens me up. Not good qualities on a film set. I have never been less communicative with a crew. Fortunately, Dan [Radcliffe] fills that role with ease and charm. And youth.”

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Rickman attempted to cut out before the story was over. In the entry listed on Dec. 4, 2002, Alan wrote that he had tried to hang up his cloak and wand after Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. “Talking to [agent] Paul Lyon-Maris about HP exit, which he thinks will happen,” wrote Alan. “But here we are in the project-collision area again. Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it.”

Thankfully for Potter fans, Alan stuck with the franchise and showed love for the magic that the series was able to make. “Harry Potter 3. World premiere,” he wrote on May 23. 2004. “Arriving at Radio City was like being a Beatle. Thousands of fans screamed as we got out of cars. Mostly for Daniel Radcliffe but a rush for everyone. Not to mention walking out on to the stage to 6,000.”

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“[Director Alfonso Cuarón] has done an extraordinary job,” added Rickman.” 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. Stunning effects that are somehow part of the life of the film, not show-off stunts.”

Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman will be released on Oct. 18, 2022, by Henry Holt and Co.

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