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Harry Potter stars Alfred Enoch and Bonnie Wright are among those lending their voices to narrate the audiobook of Alan Rickman’s Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman.
In Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, releasing on Oct. 18, volumes of diary entries written by the late actor running from 1993 to his death in 2016 are shared in which Rickman candidly details his life and career. From inside his home to the sets of films and plays including Sense and Sensibility, Die Hard, the Harry Potter franchise to Noël Coward’s Private Lives and the final film he directed, A Little Chaos, Rickman’s diaries offer insight into both his private and public life.
“Reading them is like listening to Rickman chatting to a close companion. Meet Rickman the consummate professional actor, but also the friend, the traveler, the fan, the director, the enthusiast; in short, the man beyond the icon,” Henry Holt and Co. describes of the upcoming book.
Enoch starred in the Potter franchise as Dean Thomas while Wright starred as Ginny Weasley, sister to Ron Weasley and eventual wife to Potter. The stars were among the cast who reunited in January to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (also named Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone).
Rickman’s wife, Rima Horton will also lend her voice to the audiobook production from Macmillan Audio with Rickman’s close friend and audiobook narrator Steven Crossley reading the majority of the text. Madly, Deeply will also include a foreword by Emma Thompson and an afterword by Horton.
Below, THR shares a first listen of an audiobook excerpt narrated by Enoch and the accompanying text from Rickman’s Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman.
Moviegoers caught their first sight of Alan Rickman in 1988 in the action thriller Die Hard. At the age of forty-two, antediluvian by Hollywood standards, he was cast as Hans Gruber, a Teutonic terrorist who has seized control of a Los Angeles skyscraper and taken hostages. So far, so unremarkable; expectations for the film were modest and early reviews mixed. This, though, did nothing to dent its popularity at the box office, which grew by word of mouth. Starring Bruce Willis as an NYPD detective, Gruber’s nemesis, Die Hard alerted audiences around the globe to the talented Mr Rickman whose devil-may-care interpretation of a psychopath stole the show and received a deluge of plaudits. As a New Yorker critic later noted, Gruber “likes nice suits, reads magazines, misquotes Plutarch. No one ever looked so brilliantly uninterested while firing a machine gun or executing a civilian. As portrayed by Rickman, Gruber seems to possess a strange fatalism, as if he expects to lose, and to die, all along.”
Lord Byron quipped that after the publication of his poem Childe Harold he awoke one morning and found himself famous. The same might be said of Alan Rickman and Die Hard. Until then his career had largely been forged in Britain, most notably at the Royal Shakespeare Company, where, in 1985, he stood out in plays such as Les Liaisons Dangereuses. But before then, in 1982, he appeared on BBC television in a series adapted from Anthony Trollope’s Barchester novels. Perfectly cast as the Reverend Obadiah Slope, a slimy hypocrite with a toe-curling smile, Alan demonstrated that he was as at home on-screen as he was on the stage. Global stardom may have taken its time to embrace him but there was surely never any doubt that it would eventually do so. Blessed with a voice that could make fluctuations on the stock market sound seductive and a delivery that was hypnotically unhurried, it was obvious that Alan had a natural gift for acting.
To him, it was more a vocation than a profession and he was irked by those who sought to disparage it and in awe of anyone who devoted their life to it. As his diaries demonstrate, acting is not merely a means of escape—in itself a wondrous thing—but a portal to a greater understanding of what it means to be human.
However, it was not how he originally sought to make a living. Born in 1946 in the London working-class suburb of Acton, Alan Sidney Patrick Rickman was the second of four children—three boys and one girl. His father, Bernard, was a factory worker who died when Alan was eight. It was thus left to his mother, Margaret, who worked as a telephonist, to bring up the family. He was educated at a local primary school and Latymer Upper, which counts among its alumni the actors Hugh Grant and Mel Smith.
He met Rima Horton when she was fifteen and he was a year older; both were keen on amateur dramatics. Friends for several years, they became a couple around 1970 and remained together for the rest of Alan’s life, marrying in 2012.
On leaving school he attended Chelsea College of Art and Design, graduating in 1968. After a few years working as a graphic designer, he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. It was at RADA, where he was recognized as one of the top students, that his future life was defined. As he wrote in 1974: “Fine acting always hits an audience with the force and oneness of the well-aimed bomb—one is only aware of the blast or series of blasts at the time—afterwards you can study the devastation or think about how a bomb is made.”
Alan’s apprenticeship was served in repertory theatre, in towns and cities like Sheffield, Birmingham, Nottingham and Glasgow, where he could hone his craft and gain experience. It was his equivalent of a Swiss finishing school and gave him a solid bedrock on which to build. It meant, too, that when he made the breakthrough as a star he never lost touch with his roots or his sense of perspective. Following Die Hard, he was in constant demand. First came Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, in which he was unforgettable as the Sheriff of Nottingham: “That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.”
Always wary of being typecast, especially as a villain, his next role was in the romantic comedy Truly, Madly, Deeply opposite Juliet Stevenson. She was one of a number of female actors whom he counted as close friends. In 1995, he appeared in An Awfully Big Adventure, an adaptation of Beryl Bainbridge’s novel of the same title, and Sense and Sensibility, which Emma Thompson adapted from Jane Austen’s classic novel. Galaxy Quest, a parody of Star Trek, which has since acquired cult status, required him to play an alien, while in Dogma he was an angel who has the voice of God. Alan was nothing if not versatile. Other roles included Rasputin, Anton Mesmer, Éamon de Valera and Hilly Kristal, owner of the legendary New York punk rock club CBGB. The first decade of the new century was devoted largely to the Harry Potter series of eight films. He played Severus Snape, the famously grumpy professor with a ready wit, a part with which he became synonymous, and which reduced considerably the average age of his burgeoning fan base.
Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman will be released on Oct. 18.
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