Alan Rickman was ‘frustrated’ by Harry Potter character Snape

Alan Rickman, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Warner Bros. via Everett Collection

Alan Rickman was “frustrated” by his character in Harry Potter, according to an archive of the late actor’s personal papers that has been released for auction.

The Truly, Madly, Deeply star, who died in 2016 from pancreatic cancer, became a household name playing the role of Professor Severus Snape in the movie franchise based on author J.K. Rowling’s series of fictional novels.

But a collection of letters and personal papers belonging to the Tony Award nominee, which was released for auction at the ABA Rare Book Fair in London in May (18), suggests he was at times disheartened by the portrayal his iconic character.

In a postcard from David Heyman, the producer that cast Rickman in the role of Snape, Heyman acknowledges Rickman’s frustrations and thanks him for his role in the blockbuster films.

“Thank you for making HP2 (2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets) a success,” Heyman wrote. “I know, at times, you are frustrated but please know that you are an integral part of the films. And you are brilliant.”

Disillusions continued in a later note, entitled “Inside Snape’s Head”, which Rickman penned while working on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Addressing the amount of attention his character received in the 2009 film, he wrote: “It’s as if (the film’s director) David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal.”

The full archive, which spans the actor’s 40-year career and has been valued at $1.2 million, also includes letters from JK Rowling thanking the late actor for “doing justice to my most complex character”, as well as correspondences from The Prince of Wales, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair and Rickman’s copy of the script for his first film, 1988’s Die Hard.