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“Harry Potter”: Alan Rickman’s memoirs explain why the actor kept his role despite his illness

The memoirs of the actor who died in 2016 will be published in October. Several excerpts from these diaries return to the filming of the Harry Potter saga, in which he played Severus Snape. 

Alan Rickman's memoirs will be published next month. Died in 2016 from pancreatic cancer, the actor recorded, throughout his career, thoughts on his profession and reflections on his life. These assembled diaries form Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman. The Guardian has published exclusive excerpts. In several of them, the actor explains how the world of the Harry Potter saga and the narrative arc of his character, Severus Snape, pushed him to keep his role despite his battle with cancer. 

Alan Rickman was diagnosed with the disease in 2005. Forced to follow a strict medical protocol, he underwent extensive surgery in January 2006. At the same time, the fifth installment of the Harry Potter saga, Order of the Phoenix, was in production for release a year later. The resumption of his role was not an obvious choice for Alan Rickman. Sick, in the middle of treatment, he still wanted to continue his commitment to the wizarding world: "Finally said yes to HP 5. The feeling is neither positive nor negative. The argument that prevailed was this: 'We have to go through with it. This is our story,'" he writes after confirming his presence in the cast. 

"A cliff edge to hold on to"

In 2007, Alan Rickman already knew the secrets and fate of Severus Snape. He was the only actor in the saga to have been taken into confidence by the author of the books on which the films are based, J.K Rowling. "I've finished reading the last Harry Potter book," he wrote at the time. "Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he has ever known and calls his son Albus Severus. It was a real rite of passage. A little information provided by Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hold onto."  These few confidences should move fans of the saga, who will also find in Alan Rickman's Memoirs anecdotes about the making of the Harry Potter films. 

Written by Michael Zippo

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