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kottke.org posts about Alan Rickman

How Accurate Is Your Listening?

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 03, 2019

In a 2010 interview with the BBC, Alan Rickman talked about the importance of listening as an actor:

You only speak because you wish to respond to something you’ve heard. So the notion of an actor going away and looking at a speech they have in their bedroom alone at night is a complete nonsense to me. What you have to say is completely incidental. All I want to see from an actor is the intensity and accuracy of their listening. And then what you have to say will become automatic.

I love that — “the intensity and accuracy of their listening”. It seems like good advice not only for actors but for other professions and personal relationships. How accurate is your listening? (via @tedgioia)

Alan Rickman, RIP

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 14, 2016

In this short video (oh just be patient and watch the whole damn thing), Alan Rickman demonstrates how I feel this morning that he has died of cancer at the age of 69. (Same age and affliction as Bowie, you’ll note.)

That Rickman never won an Oscar (he did receive a Golden Globe, an Emmy, a Bafta and many more) became a perennial topic in interviews but did not seem to trouble the actor himself. “Parts win prizes, not actors,” he said in 2008. It was the wider worth of his art to which Rickman remained committed, saying that he found it easier to treat the work seriously if he could look upon himself with levity.

“Actors are agents of change,” he said. “A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.”

I loved Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard and as Dr. Lazarus in Galaxy Quest, but I’ll remember his turn as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films the most. Among several fantastic actors in that series, Rickman’s performance was arguably the best. Many characters in Potter struggled between the good and not-so-good sides of themselves (including Harry and Dumbledore) but none of them carried that battle off as well as Rickman’s Snape.

Alan Rickman drinks tea dramatically

posted by Jason Kottke   May 24, 2012

Many of you liked the slinky on the treadmill video. This slow-motion video of Alan Rickman drinking tea isn’t quite as compelling, but it’s not bad either. Wait for the drop around 1:22 before judging.

The original video without the dramatic sound is here. (More info.)