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7 Magical Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Alan Rickman

“From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears. ‘After all this time?'”

“‘Always,’ said Snape.”

HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE, Alan Rickman, Warner Brothers
Warner Brothers via Everett

Even though Alan Rickman didn’t start his film career until he was 42, he touched the lives of fans around the world with roles like Severus Snape and Hans Gruber. In honor of everyone’s favorite villain, here are 7 things you probably didn’t know about Alan Rickman.

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1. He Loved a Good Fart Joke

While filming the sleeping bag scene in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Daniel Radcliffe requested that his sleeping bag be placed next to a girl that he had a crush on at the time. In order to embarrass Radcliffe as much as possible, Rickman, Michael Gambon, and director Alfonso Cuaron hid a remote control whoopee cushion in Harry’s sleeping bag. According to Cuaron, Radcliffe tried to stay in character while everyone else laughed at him. We’re not sure how this affect Radcliffe’s chances with his crush, but something tells us he’ll be fine.

2. He Banned Ron and Neville From Touching His Car

While filming of The Order of the Phoenix, Alan Rickman banned Harry Potter actors Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis from coming within 5 meters of his new BMW. Apparently during the filming of The Goblet of Fire, the pair had spilled a milkshake in his car.

3. He Was a Knight

GALAXY QUEST, Tim Allen, Alan Rickman, Sigourney Weaver, DreamWorks
DreamWorks via Everett

Okay, not really, but the original script for Galaxy Quest contains a mention of Rickman’s character Alexander Dane being knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. However, Rickman thought this didn’t make sense and requested that this detail be changed. Although in the film’s credits, his character is still listed as “Sir Alexander Dane”. On a related note, Rickman shares a lot of similarities with his Galaxy Quest character. Both were actors with Shakespearian backgrounds who hated being typecast as the villain.

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4. He Almost Wasn’t Snape

It’s common knowledge that Alan Rickman was author J.K. Rowling‘s first choice to play Severus Snape. In fact, she has even mentioned that she envisioned the actor while writing the character. However, that dream almost never materialized. Warner Brothers preferred Tim Roth for the role and only agreed to cast Rickman after Roth backed out in order to star in Planet of the Apes.

5. But Rickman Was the Perfect Choice

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Alan Rickman, Daniel Radcliffe, Warner Brothers
Warner Brothers via Everett

It’s hard to imagine anyone else as Snape. During the filming of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Rowling revealed to Rickman that Snape was in love with Lilly Potter which informed his character’s actions and motivations. Rowling later explained that Rickman “needed to understand… where this bitterness towards this boy, who’s living proof of her preference for another man, came from.”

6. He Was Scared of Guns

While filming Die Hard, Alan Rickman had a nasty habit of flinching anytime he shot a gun. Because of this, director John McTiernan had to work around Rickman’s reactions. However, if you watch closely during the scene where Hans Gruber shoots Takagi, you can still see Rickman wince when he fires his weapon.

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7. He Loved Filming Dumbledore’s Death Scene

In the climactic scene of Die Hard where Hans Gruber falls to his death (spoiler alert!), Alan Rickman actually fell 21 feet to an air bag below. In order to get a genuine surprised reaction, the stunt man holding onto Rickman was instructed to drop him on the count of two (instead of three).

Years later, while filming Dumbledore’s death in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Rickman got to relive this moment from his first film from the other side of things and was giddy because “he was on the other end in this film!”

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