Alan Rickman's Personal Letters Reveal He Was Frustrated Playing Harry Potter's Snape

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A collection of personal letters belonging to the late Alan Rickman shows that playing one of the main roles in an iconic franchise like Harry Potter isn’t always easy. The letters, which are part of an auction at the ABA Rare Book Fair in London, shed light on Rickman's mindset when playing Severus Snape over the course of eight movies, and it's clear there was some difficulty along the way.

“Thank you for making HP2 a success,” Potter producer David Heyman wrote to Rickman in one letter. “I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.”

And in another note, which Rickman titled Inside Snape’s Head, the actor bemoaned the way in which Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince director David Yates handled a specific part of Snape’s characterization. Details about what, exactly, Rickman didn’t like aren’t made public, but the actor wrote, “It’s as if David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal,” when questioning the director's choices. Half-Blood Prince is the sixth film in the franchise, and the letters point towards frustrations starting as early as the second installment, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which was directed by Chris Columbus, who also helmed the first movie. 

There are happier notes in the collection, though, including one from Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, who told Rickman he was “doing justice to my most complex character,” and one from Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, saying, “To Alan, Thank you for all of my presents, I can’t wait to read Catcher in the Rye.”

According to Architectural Digest, the Rickman auction collection includes 35 boxes of diaries, photos, scripts, and other personal effects, including notes from Prince Charles, Tony Blair, and Bill Clinton. All said, the entire haul has been valued at $1.2 million.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar

Funko
Funko

Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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What Movie Do You Want to Watch? This Website Analyzes Film Critic Reviews to Help You Choose

She's smiling because it only took her two minutes to choose a movie.
She's smiling because it only took her two minutes to choose a movie.
Rowan Jordan/iStock via Getty Images

Much like sommeliers can detect subtle notes of who-knows-what in a sip of wine, film critics are fantastic at identifying influences and drawing parallels between movies. Cinetrii is a handy website that crowdsources all that movie knowledge to help you find your next favorite film.

Basically, you enter the name of a movie you enjoyed in the search bar, and the site will show you a node graph with film recommendations splintering off the search query. Click on one, and you’ll see a quote from a critic (or critics) who referenced the films together. This way, you get a list of recommendations based on different aspects of the movie, and you get to decide for yourself what you’d like to see more of.

If, for example, you were blown away by the special effects in Christopher Nolan’s Inception, you might like Doctor Strange; according to Variety, it boasts “a staggering visual effects innovation, in which the building-bending seen in Christopher Nolan’s Inception is taken to an extreme that would blow even M.C. Escher’s mind.” If what the Chicago Tribune calls an “elegant brain-bender” quality appealed to you more, The Matrix might be a perfect fit.

Films above your search query were released before the movie you typed in, while films below came out after it. The shorter the line, the more closely the films are related, as calculated by the website’s algorithm. And, as Lifehacker points out, that algorithm doesn’t give any special treatment to massive Hollywood blockbusters, so Cinetrii is an especially great way to find hidden gems. Because it shows you the critics' actual quotes, you’re not left to wonder why a certain film landed on the recommendations list—which can’t always be said for “Watch next” lists on streaming services.

You can explore Cinetrii here.

[h/t Lifehacker]