It seems that to fans of heavy metal, film or British contributions to the world of culture in general, the last few days have not been easy. 2016 is just a fortnight old and we have already seen the deaths of Ian Kilmister (Lemmy from Motorhead), David Jones (David Bowie aka The Thin White Duke aka Ziggy Stardust) and now the veritable face of franchise after franchise and the man who nearly single – handily put the cool factor back into performances as a villain and overall, one of 20th and early 21st century Britain’s finest actors, Alan Rickman have all passed away since New Year’s Day.
To me, each was an icon. But in Rickman’s case, it is the proverbial cherry on the Sundae occurred when he joined the remainder of this trio. Last month, I continued one of my very few traditions, one I have been keeping for over a decade and on Christmas Eve, watched Die Hard and one or two of its many sequels (Die Hard 6 is deep in pre – production now). As I hope I made clear in my Die Hard review last month, if it was not for Alan Rickman giving the definition of a smarmy and charismatic performance, I personally highly doubt that the film would have spawned a franchise. When J. K. Rowling was formulating the Harry Potter series, idly I believe she had envisioned Alan Rickman as the physical embodiment of Potions Master Severus Snape. The film franchise has gone on to do extremely well financially, with 8 films, rivalling Bond’s 27 film, Saturday morning cartoon show and video gaming empire. To say that Alan Rickman was only a minor reason behind this is a massive understatement.
His performance as Severus Snape and Hans Gruber are linked by the charismatic evil you just can not help but cheer for and with this, so many actors either intentionally or not copy this some extent. I can think of no greater compliment to an actor’s body of work.
I however will be marking the man somewhat by reliving some of his great performances, namely Severus Snape, Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Jamie in Truly, Madly, Deeply, The Metitron in Dogma and of course, as Hans Gruber in Die Hard.