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Alan Rickman letters reveal 'frustrated' time as Snape during Harry Potter shoot

Contributed by
May 29, 2018

Though Alan Rickman was famously handpicked by J.K. Rowling for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series, he wasn’t always happy with his complex role in the teen wizard’s story. Franchises often tax their actors, but for the adept Rickman, Harry Potter proved to be a hurdle that he grappled with privately more than publicly.

This comes to light after a collection of Rickman’s letters and assorted documents have been released for auction. A postcard, written by producer David Heyman, thanks the late actor for his work on The Chamber of Secrets. “Thank you for making HP2 a success. I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant,” it reads.

That frustration didn’t stop with the second film in the franchise. Rickman later penned a numbered list pointing out five narrative notes and character decisions he’d hoped to implement into the Snape-centric The Half-Blood Prince. Titled “Inside Snape’s Head,” the actor concludes with a small jab at director David Yates. “It’s as if David Y. has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal,” Rickman wrote.

But it’s not all stifled creativity and disillusionment. Two items in the collection show part of the cast and crew’s appreciation for the actor.

Two crude statues depicting the house elf Dobby are dubbed “The Dobbys” in lieu of the Oscars that Harry Potter failed to win. Rickman earned two “because he is totally amazing." His first one is for "the best back story" after his portrayal of The Prince's Tale reduced worldwide audiences to tears. His second one is for "being Alan Rickman." Because, of course.

Obviously the actor prized the awards and his time in the films, even if there were moments of aggravation.

Rickman’s archive, valued at about $1.2 million,is going up for auction at the ABA Rare Book Fair in London.