Excerpts From Alan Rickman's Diary Reveal Actor Considered Quitting Harry Potter And One Piece Of Advice Early On That Helped Him Through

The Harry Potter movies wouldn’t have been as much of a resounding success as they were without the skills of the late Alan Rickman. As anyone with a Peacock subscription can tell you, part of the joys in revisiting those eight films is watching Professor Severus Snape act as both a help and a hindrance to young Harry’s adventures. Apparently, we almost didn’t get to see Rickman in later installments of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, as the actor considered quitting the series halfway through. His reasoning was solid, as part of the decision was due to him undergoing treatment for prostate cancer. 

Coinciding with the lead up to production on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the late actor’s diaries show that he was hesitant to continue Snape’s journey. Based on excerpts published by The Guardian, Alan Rickman’s decision came down to a single piece of wisdom and advice he was given: 

30 January, 2006: Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story.’

It was no secret that the acclaimed actor was frustrated with the Harry Potter saga from day one. Interestingly, he was once also reticent about Die Hard type casting him as a villain. Other diary entries highlighted in the source above had the star venting even more frustrations during the production of Goblet of Fire. Those concerns, and intense treatments for prostate cancer, would naturally lead anyone to potentially take their exit while they could.

Seeing Severus Snape’s story through to the end was the choice that Alan Rickman ultimately made though, and it’s not only because he felt a sense of duty to do so. Singled out as one of the only people J.K. Rowling trusted with knowledge of the future, the Harry Potter author told the man who would be Snape about some important developments, which ultimately fueled his performance. Rickman reinforced this fact in the following diary entry pertaining to reading Deathly Hallows upon release:

27 July, 2007: … I have finished reading the last Harry Potter book. Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus. This was a genuine rite of passage. One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hang on to.

It's clear that he felt compelled to make Professor Severus Snape’s cinematic legacy his own, and the world was eventually blessed with Alan Rickman’s nuanced performance as a whole. By time Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II had been released in 2011, the performer saw himself give five more years to the legacy he’d helped create. It may not have always been easy, but Rickman enriched the lives of his co-stars, and his fans, by seeing it through. 

Fans who want to enjoy the totality of the Wizarding World streaming will have to be patient, given the current state of things. At the time of this writing, Harry Potter movies are all available on Peacock Premium; meanwhile the Fantastic Beasts saga is currently streaming on HBO Max. Keep that in mind as you clear your calendar, and prepare to return to Hogwarts and beyond in the near future.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.