Alan Rickman’s Harry Potter Co-Star Shares Sweet Memories Of Working With The Late Actor On Set

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape in Harry Potter
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Among the most heartbreaking Hollywood deaths in recent memory was when Alan Rickman died at the age of 69 in 2016. The incredible talent, known portraying fan-favorite villain Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies, had been diagnose with cancer after suffering a minor stroke in the summer of 2015. Many of his colleagues have shared their fond memories of Rickman in the past and, now, his Wizarding World colleague, Timothy Spall, has shared his own impressions of the late actor. 

Timothy Spall played Peter Pettigrew/Wormtail in Prison of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and both the Deathly Hallows movies. The British actor recalled what it was like having Alan Rickman as a collaborator on set with these words: 

The one thing I can tell you about Alan, considering that, apart from the tragedy of his loss and losing him at such a young age, really, in this day and age, he practically played so many sinister, rather formidable, terrifying characters — not always, but [he] was brilliant at it. The man himself was so different, [he] was so warm, was so kind and genuinely kind. On Harry Potter, even when he wasn't working, there wasn't a day when he wasn't coming in with a group of kids. There [were] always phone calls, 'Can I come on the set?' He'd be bringing friends' children to show them around.

During his interview with Looper, Timothy Spall shared some sweet memories of the late Harry Potter actor, sharing that he was very different in real-life than his often menacing roles. Spall recalled Alan Rickman being “warm” and “genuinely kind.” And apparently, on days when he wasn’t working, he was practically holding tours for friends to show them the incredible Wizarding World sets. 

Prior to Potter, the late star was well known for playing Hans Gruber in Die Hard, another villain. And when it came to taking up the role of Severus Snape, he didn’t want to be typecast. In order to convince him of the role, J.K. Rowling actually confided in him about the character’s full arc and he took it on as a result. Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets director Chris Columbus recalled the actor making specific choices on set in the early films to go with the character’s full backstory, despite being the only one on set with this inside knowledge. 

Timothy Spall and Alan Rickman in Sweeney Todd

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Timothy Spall also got to work with Alan Rickman in Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street along with both of them sharing voice credits in Disney’s live-action Alice in Wonderland movies. When looking back his memories of the late actor, Spall also remembered a good memory of the time Rickman met his wife and mother-in-law and was “absolutely charming” with them. He called Rickman one of the “best actors of his time” and shared how grateful he was to work with him. These are memories he's sure to cherish for the rest of his life, and they also further solidify why fans adored the late performer in the first place.

The magical film franchise was recently revisited through the Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts special, which paid tribute to Alan Rickman. If you haven’t already, you can check it out with an HBO Max subscription

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.