That Time Harry Potter's Alan Rickman Was Hit By 'Day-Long Melancholy' On Prisoner Of Azkaban

There are popular franchises, and then there’s Harry Potter. The Wizarding World has entertained the public for decades, starting with J.K. Rowling’s novels and growing into an eight-film movie franchise, theme parks, and even stage plays. But the movies will always have a special place in fans’ hearts, partly thanks to the great performances given by the cast. Although there was a time when Harry Potter’s Alan Rickman was hit by “day-long melancholy” while working on The Prisoner of Azkaban.

Late actor Alan Rickman played Severus Snape to pitch perfection throughout the Harry Potter movies, being privy to his character’s true nature years before the books made it public knowledge. But that doesn’t mean that he didn’t have struggles during his years in Hogwarts. An excerpt from his journals (acquired by The Guardian) reveals that Rickman had some issues while filming the third movie in the franchise, The Prisoner of Azkaban. As the Die Hard icon mused,

The day got off to a fabulous start with the screen guillotining on to my head, a sudden, swift blackout followed by day-long melancholy. Alfonso [Cuarón, director] was quietly ballistic with me. I love him too much to let it last too long so I wailed offset and we sorted it out. He’s under the usual HP pressure and even he starts rehearsing cameras before actors, and these kids need directing. They don’t know their lines and Emma [Watson]’s diction is this side of Albania at times. Plus my so-called rehearsal is with a stand-in who is French.

Shot fired. Movie sets are a notoriously grueling place, and when it comes to a major franchise like Harry Potter, the stakes could not be higher. And sometimes those long hours and tricky material can make even the most experienced actor cranky. Case in point: Alan Rickman’s journal entry while filming the third movie in the Wizarding World.

Alan Rickman’s journal entry helps to show what it’s actually like working on a major blockbuster like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Sometimes there are stressors involved, including long hours, language barriers, or issues with one’s co-star. Regarding the latter complaint, Rickman seemed to take umbrage with the diction of Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson. Of course, she was still a young child actor at the time of filming the threequel.

In the end, Alan Rickman starred in all eight of the Harry Potter movies as Severus Snape, giving a complex and heartbreaking performance in his last few appearances. And while he might have been melancholic for a day or two during his tenure as Hogwarts’ Potions Master, the cast and crew have universally praised their time with the late actor. 

Alan Rickman passed away in January of 2016 at the age of 69, with countless fans mourning him and celebrating his acclaimed work on the big screen. In the years that followed more icons from Harry Potter have passed away as well, most recently Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane. Although their legacy lives forever with the generations of fans.

The Harry Potter franchise is currently streaming on Peacock. Be sure to check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.