Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alan Rickman: The True Embodiment of an Actor's Actor

Sitting at my computer screen this morning, I had a subject in mind for a blog post, but decided to check out Facebook before getting to work on my writing. The first post noted the death of one of my all-time favorite actors, so my blog topic just had to be about him today.

Alan Rickman, without a doubt, created characters on screen that were impossible to forget. As an actor, I would watch his performances over and over because he possessed that "special something" that every actor wishes he could emulate.

I remember asking (almost thirty years ago now), after seeing him in Die Hard: "Who is this guy? He is so beautifully evil!"  You hated the character, wanted Bruce Willis to kill him off throughout the film, but being an actor, I was mesmerized by the completeness he exhibited. By that I mean, his body language, his facial expressions, that distinctive voice: he used them all flawlessly to enhance the scripted lines. Best of all, you never were aware that he was "acting". He just was that evil man!

There are so many of his performances that drew me in that way. Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves was a favorite (still is), Truly, Madly, Deeply is the favorite of many I know. His portrayal of Snape in the Harry Potter series made me understand why J.K. Rowling thought of him playing the role as she was writing the character. I laughed - and identified - with him in Galaxy Quest, which is one I still watch again and again.

He touched me deeply with two of his films: Love Actually and Sense & Sensibility. The moments he created in those films showed his depth, his unending creativity, and the unique gift he had for doing just enough to engage you in his inner conflicts and thoughts. So many times on screen, he made you feel for him without saying anything. THAT is what made him an "actor's actor".  He showed me how to be better, even though I knew I would never achieve that level of artistry.  I still wanted to try when I watched him.

To say he will be missed is an understatement. He still had so much to give to audiences. I do love that film allows us to relive those cinematic moments again and again, but I am so sad that I'll never have a "new moment" in a darkened theatre when I discover another Alan Rickman creation on screen.

Rest In Peace, you dear, talented, and giving artist.

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