“From his breakout role in Die Hard to his outstanding, multifaceted performances in the Harry Potter films, Galaxy Quest, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and more, Alan Rickman cemented his legacy as a world-class actor. His air of dignity, his sonorous voice, and the knowing wit he brought to each role continue to captivate audiences today.
But Rickman’s ability to breathe life into projects wasn’t confined to just his performances. As you’ll find, Rickman’s diaries detail the extraordinary and the ordinary, flitting between worldly and witty and gossipy, while remaining utterly candid throughout. He takes us inside his home, on trips with friends across the globe, and on the sets of films and plays ranging from Sense and Sensibility, to Noël Coward’s Private Lives, to the final film he directed, A Little Chaos.
Running from 1993 to his death in 2016, the diaries provide singular insight into Rickman’s public and private 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.”
Alan Rickman was one of those actors where when I saw his name in the credits, I knew no matter how bad the movie was, at least I’d see a good acting performance from him. Madly, Deeply (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) is the condensed version of Rickman’s diaries from the 1990’s to his death in 2016.
There are two things that can happen when I read or listen to a “Hollywood” memoir or biography. Either I have more respect for the actor, or I finish the book with a lower opinion of them. This is the case with Alan Rickman.
I am not sure why his wife decided to publish his diaries, other than the fact that some news agencies report that Alan had hoped to publish them some day. They read like someone’s planner. Dates for lunches with people who only have first names, and while I admit to guessing some of the people he was talking about like Emma Thompson, most are a mystery to me because I’m not that invested in British theater and don’t know who he’s talking about. Other quick notes like “Harry Potter filming day 47. Arrived at 8am.” (That’s not an actual entry, just an example of how it reads).
Rickman also comes off as slightly snooty and condescending, which was a disappointment. He hates Hollywood movies but frequently does them for the grand payouts, and he clearly has no problem “selling his soul.” He doesn’t complain about all the time he has to spend in Los Angeles enjoying the great weather, the private pools and limo rides around town. He’d much rather do theater either in England or on Broadway (again for the bigger payout that us Americans are willing to pay).
There was never any deep introspection, thoughts on things including his cancer, or if there were, they were excised out before publication. What is left is so disappointing, I can’t imagine why this book is getting such rave reviews. Maybe it’s because Rickman was an extraordinary actor, but as a man, he fell far short for me.
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