Tuesday 18 August 2015

Alan Rickman Top Ten

Alan Rickman Top Ten

Alan Rickman has established himself over the years as one of Britain’s best thespians, and has become something of a national treasure as he’s demonstrated his fantastic range over and over again. He’s also turned his hand to directing- with his latest stint behind the camera also reuniting him with former co-star Kate Winslet. To celebrate the release of A Little Chaos, available on digital platforms from 10th August, 2015, and on Blu-ray and DVD from 24th August, 2015, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment, we take a look back at some of his other most memorable roles.

A Little Chaos (2015)
Rickman is reunited with Kate Winslet, as well as taking on directing duties, in this wonderfully romantic period drama set in 17th Century France. When brilliantly talented landscape gardener Madame Sabine De Barra (Winslet) finds herself an unlikely candidate for landscape architect of the still‐to-be-completed Palace of Versailles, she is thrown into the bewildering world of the court of King Louis XIV (Rickman). She has little time for the classical, ordered designs of her employer, the famous architect Le Nôtre (Matthias Schoenaerts), but as she works on her creation, she finds herself irresistibly drawn to him, while attempting to negotiate the perilous rivalries and intricate etiquette of the court.

The Harry Potter series (2001 – 2011)
Taking on the role of one of the most well-known and debated characters in modern children’s literature is no easy task, but Rickman managed it in spectacular fashion as Professor Snape in the adaptations of JK Rowling’s record-breaking novels. Much of the tension throughout the eight films comes from the ongoing question of exactly where Snape’s loyalties really lie, and Rickman delivers a pitch-perfect performance as the sneering, bitter, but ultimately tragic double agent.

Love Actually (2003)
Richard Curtis’ sugary-sweet ode to London, love and Christmas weaves together several strands into one quintessentially British, and yes, quite saccharine portmanteau with a mind-bogglingly star-studded cast. Rickman stars opposite Emma Thompson as Harry and Karen, a happily married couple who find their relationship tested when he’s tempted to stray following the attentions of his colleague Mia (played with pantomime levels of femme fatale-villainy by Heike Makatsch).

Die Hard (1988)
John McTiernan directed this high octane thriller about John McClane (Bruce Willis), officer of the NYPD, who is on a mission to save his wife and several others when they are taken hostage by German terrorists. Rickman plays German madman Hans Gruber, and obviously relished every second of it. His take on the action-hero evil mastermind is endlessly quotable and almost charming enough for the audience to end up rooting for him.

Truly Madly Deeply (1990)
Like the film Ghost, but British and arguably better. Juliet Stevenson plays a British woman who tries to overcome the death of her musician lover, played by Rickman. Stevenson begins an affair with Rickman’s ghost, even playing host to some of his dead friends. It is sharply scripted and beautifully acted by all, but particularly Rickman, who brings charm to a literally dead role. Plus, who doesn’t want to hear Professor Snape sing a ballad?

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
This take on the classic tale may not have done particularly well at the box office, but since its release has become a cult favourite, and with good reason-it’s an outstandingly entertaining adaptation of the much-loved legend. Rickman steals every scene he’s in as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham, more than holding own opposite Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman and Christian Slater.

Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Ang Lee directed this adaptation of the Jane Austen classic, and Emma Thompson won a thoroughly deserved Oscar for her adapted screenplay. She also turns in a pitch-perfect performance as the put-upon Elinor Dashwood, ably supported by Kate Winslet as flighty younger sister Marianne, while Rickman, Hugh Grant and Greg Wise play the various suitors which the Dashwood sisters must navigate. Rickman particularly stands out as the tortured, brooding Colonel Brandon, who finds a new lease of life when introduced to the bright, breezy Marianne.

Rasputin (1996)
This HBO biopic about the infamous “sorcerer” Rasputin from the court of Tsar Nicholas of Russia features a memorable performance from Rickman in the titular role. He’s joined by an incredible ensemble cast, including Ian McKellen and Greta Scacchi, which makes for a thoroughly entertaining film, in which Rickman’s melodramatic, outstanding portrayal leaves audiences pondering, ‘was this more than a man’?

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Rickman demonstrates his incredible range in Tim Burton’s slightly barmy but brilliant musical. Although singing isn’t one of his strengths, his performance as Judge Turpin is fantastic. Taking on the role of the man who ruins Sweeney Todd’s life, Rickman manages to deepen the role, making his character one of the most memorable- no small task in a cast that includes Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.

Lee Daniel’s The Butler (2013)
This historical drama tells the story of a White House butler, played by Forest Whitaker, who served eight American presidents over three decades. Rickman stars as former US president Ronald Reagan alongside an amazing cast which includes the late, great Robin Williams, John Cusack, James Marsden and Liev Schreiber. Though many debated the portrayal of Reagan, particularly his views on race, no one could argue that Rickman’s performance was amazing to watch.

A Little Chaos is available on digital platforms from 10th August, 2015, and on Blu-ray and DVD from 24th August, 2015, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment