“Where’s the happy ending, Jason? ‘Never give up, never surrender’?” Alan Rickman as Sir Alexander Dane in “Galaxy Quest”
I am devastated by the death of Alan Rickman. I didn’t know him personally. I only knew his work, but I mourn this loss nevertheless. He consistently led me to suspend my disbelief and enter into another world, There he would push and prod, challenge and encourage me to feel something, learn something, and yes, change something, most often myself or at least my point of view.
The first thing I did when I learned of his death was to put all his work I had not yet seen in my Netflix DVD queue or on my streaming. Even I was surprised by how few works I had not already seen. If you want to understand why so many consider him a great actor, you need only watch him play so many diverse roles and bring something new to each one. But he didn’t just bring something new, he brought something human and three dimensional. Once or twice he transcended three dimensions into the fourth, beyond anything words can express.
Yes, he really was that good.
Oh I definitely found him attractive, but this “thing” I had for him was beyond just the physical. It was that voice which could speak volumes in a single sentence. It was those eyes which were able to see completely through me even from a screen. It was his understanding of what it means to be human and how complicated every one of us is. It was his ability to make a connection without even being in the same room.
I regret he will not continue to produce new work, but I am grateful for all his work that has been captured and preserved on film. If you have only seen him as Hans Gruber in “Die Hard” or Severus Snape in all the “Harry Potter” films, then do yourself a favor and watch “Something the Lord Made”, “Galaxy Quest”, “Sense and Sensibility”, and my personal favorite, “Truly, Madly, Deeply”. There are more, but these will give you a sense of his range.
I wasn’t able to track down where or when, but he once said, “Actors are agents of change. A film, a piece of theatre, a piece of music, or a book can make a difference. It can change the world.” He was right. I have been changed for the better countless times by a piece of theatre, or a piece of music, or a book. And if I can be changed, then the world can be changed.
Yes, I have been changed by Alan Rickman and I thank him for all the work he left behind. I only wish I could have met him before he left. Where is the happy ending? I shall never give up, never surrender.