Interviews

Alan Rickman from Unreel magazine, issue 19, Dec./Jan. 2001

Q: Can you tell us a little about your character, Professor Snape?

A: Well, he’s Professor of Potions and the current head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts – the school of wizardry that Harry attends, but he harbours a secret ambition to be a Professor of the Dark Arts. He isn’t that taken with Harry, though, probably because he finds him a little too popular for a first year pupil, I suppose.

I think at heart Snape is basically an insecure person; he’s always longing to be something else that people will really respect, like a black magician, not just a school master. That’s why he envies the more popular and successful boys like Harry. He does have his positive side, though; even though Harry’s a thorn in his side, he doesn’t let it worry him too much.

A: In the earlier part of your life, you were also in a position that you wanted to get out of so you could become something else that people would respect more; do you think this was the element of yourself that you brought to the part of Snape?

Q: Hmm, that’s an interesting question; I’m not sure I can answer it. I don’t know if that’s for me to judge – you’d have to ask the people around me…family and colleagues. You use yourself in everything you do, but at the same time, you’ve got to have a very clear idea of another person. Otherwise I don’t see how you can hand yourself over to it. He’s not me. And also perhaps at particular times in your life, you recognise certain parts as being closer to you now than they might have been five years ago. But no, every part has to have its own life to me – it isn’t me just wiping myself across a stage or screen.

Q: Professor Snape is also a Quidditch referee; does that mean you’ve now mastered all of the game’s rules?

A: No, and I don’t intend to.

Hardtalk Interview Transcript (2001)

BBC News 24 – May 5, 2001

Tim Sebastian: You don’t yet know him as Severus Snape, but thousands of you soon will. That’s his part in the new Harry Potter movie that’s set to break all box office records. Of course, you might already know him for his parts in Sense and Sensibility, Truly Madly Deeply, Die Hard, Dogma, and many other roles that have made him one of Britain’s best known actors. So, with all that behind him, how far does he share in the Harry Potter hype?

Alan Rickman, a very warm welcome to the programme.

Alan Rickman: Nice to see you.

TS: You managed just to sneak in to the premiere, did you, to get the last half hour?

AR: Yeah, about the last forty minutes because… I’m in Private Lives at the moment in the West End, and we play Sunday matinees.

TS: There’s a double bill of Rickman in the West End, isn’t there?

AR: Yeah, it depends on your taste! [laughs] In the flesh or [gestures] blown up on celluloid.

TS: How did you like it, what you saw?

AR: It looked tremendous to me. I think the thing is that whenever…I was on the set and children were coming in and visiting, the endless refrain was, « Wow! It’s just like the book! » And I think that was certainly Chris Columbus’s and the producers’ aim: to be faithful to J.K Rowling’s imagination. And I think, given the fact that at the end of the screening last night the entire cinema stood up and cheered, I guess they’ve done it! [smile broadens]

TS: That’s their reaction, but what about yours? Is it worth the hype in your view?

AR: Well, it’s worth any amount of hype to get children to read again, and in these kind of numbers, and… to have that kind of passion about sitting down in a corner turning pages of a book instead of, you know, pressing on computer keys all the time and just playing Playstations, and-

TS: Did you buy into the fantasy?

AR: Buy into it in what sense? I mean, I-

TS: I remember you saying once in order to be really good at something you have to be wholly absorbed by it.

AR: Well, when I read the book I completely- I didn’t stop turning the pages. So, yes, in that sense. It’s a great story in a long line, long tradition, of that kind of story-telling.

TS: Are you amazed that it’s going to set box office records? For merchandising as well?

AR: No, I’m not amazed. It’s…caught the public imagination, and- I mean, in a sense, the hype is incidental. The hype is hanging on to the coat-tails of something… sort of elemental, really.

An Interview with Alan Rickman by Carol Muskoron (2003)

Q: Have you noticed a big difference in your career since you’ve done Snape in the Harry Potter films?

A: Harry Potter feels like a whole other part of my life. It’s somehow not part of the me who did Private Lives in the West End and the me who directed, and who did Love, Actually. Harry Potter is like a pocket of life that I go and visit again from time to time.

Q: Have you read all the Harry Potter books? Are you a fan?

A: You can’t stop turning the pages, can you? But I haven’t read them all – I have to try to catch up as we film.

Q: The part of Snape seemed so perfect for you… There was something about it which made it look like you were stretched and yet sort of confined at the same time. Did you feel that?

A: Good way of putting it, actually. Because that’s what Snape’s like. There are such still waters in there. And the trouble is that there’s so much we don’t know yet ’cause JK Rowling hasn’t revealed it. I know a couple of things about all that, that you don’t, and I’m not telling…

Q: How do you get the dreadful Snape hair?

A: Easy. It’s a wig.

Jimmy Kimmel Show Transcript (Nov. 2003)

JK: A little of everything. Jackson [Flea’s son]. You’re ten years old. You know this guy from the Harry Potter movies?

Jackson: [smiling] Yeah.

JK: What do you think of him?

Jackson: Evil.

JK: See? That’s what I was saying earlier!

AR: What did I do?? I save Harry’s life all the time!

Jackson: Not in the first one, you don’t. (wrong)

JK: Do a lot of children recognize you now?

AR: No, because I’m careful not to wear that black wig in the street.

JK: Oh, is that right? That’s good.

AR: I figure I could put the wig on a stick, and it would sign autographs.

JK: But otherwise, they don’t give you the eye as they pass?

AR: No, no…they believe in the story. I’m not him.

JK: No, you’re not. [laughs] That’s good for you. Had you read the books before you got involved in this whole thing?

AR: No. I just read them as we get there, you know, so I don’t have a clue. [turns to Jackson] Can you tell me what happens in the next one?

[general laughing and chit chat with all the guests as they go to commercial]

Interview by HarryLatino.com (2004)

March 22, 2004

Intro: Alan Rickman in Argentina. The actor that plays Professor Snape is in Mar del Plata, where the most important Latin American cinema festival is taking place. He talked a little about the movies in which he will again play Snape.

Q: What can you tell us about the new Harry Potter movie?

A: I don’t talk about Harry Potter.

Q: Is that forbidden by the contract?

A: No, it’s just because I don’t want to speculate with something in which children’s innocence is at stake.

Q: But you are in the third one, aren’t you?

A: Yes.

Q: Have you started the fourth one?

A: They have. I haven’t.

Q: But you’ll be there?

A: Eventually…

Alan Rickman at the Premiere of Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

May 23, 2004

Q: So we’ve heard you know all about Snape’s backstory.

A: No, I don’t know everything.

Q: Ah. So what are you looking forward to playing with Snape?

A: Well, I’m looking forward to you being surprised by him at all times. I’m certainly not telling you anything!

Q: What’s your next project?

A: Well, I have to do Harry Potter four, and I am hoping to do a really interesting couple of films if we can get them in in the meantime. One is called For Our Sons; one is called Snow Cake. It’s a really wonderful script about a man who meets a woman who’s an adult autistic.