Alan Rickman slices Quint's throat as they talk SWEENEY TODD!!!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. This is pretty crazy. I was invited to the press junket for HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX earlier in the year and was asked who I wanted to sit down with and my number one was Alan Rickman. That didn’t happen, but as luck would have it I was talking to one of the Paramount publicists and we were going over SWEENEY TODD and I was talking about how much I loved Rickman and would love to talk to him. A few days later the interview was arranged and I was notified the morning of. It was a bit frightening, to be perfectly honest. Not only was it sudden, but Rickman is a pretty intimidating personality. But I got a few laughs out of him and I didn’t completely geek out and quote Hans Gruber to him or anything, so I call it an unqualified success. Enjoy!
Alan Rickman: Hello.
Quint: Hello, how are you doing, sir?
Alan Rickman: Good, thank you. How are you?
Quint: I’m doing very well. I have to say I’m a huge fan of your work, so it’s exciting to talk to you.
Alan Rickman: Thank you very much and thanks for talking to me.
Quint: Hopefully this won’t be too painful for you, but I only have a few questions for you.
Alan Rickman: OK.
Quint: I hope you will forgive me, because I haven’t seen SWEENEY TODD yet, but I’m seeing it this weekend, so hopefully I don’t ask too pedestrian of questions about the project, but…
Alan Rickman: Oh, don’t worry about that.
Quint: Alright, well I guess I would like to start with the material and what the main attraction in the film was. Was it working with Tim Burton or was it getting a chance to do this very famous story in a film adaptation?
Alan Rickman: I think it was really all of those things. It’s one of those special jobs where the names on the piece of paper beforehand absolutely match the experience afterwards, so expectation in hindsight for once are equally rewarding. It was an incredible thing to anticipate doing and it was pretty wonderful doing it and I think the film is magnificent. I’m very proud to be part of it.
Quint: I can’t wait to see it. I have friends who have seen it and the love it and say that it’s just as great as Tim Burton has ever been. They keep saying that it is his best since ED WOOD, which is high praise in my book.
Alan Rickman: I think it is absolutely that. I think it might be his best film ever and I mean it’s sort of comforting in a way to be able to be that objective, because you have to… Well, you know, it’s dangerous to call things a “work of art,” but I think it is. It’s really the sum of its parts and it has staggering cinematography and Johnny [Depp] and Helen [Bonham Carter] are absolutely wonderful in the two leading roles and the costumes are amazing… The sets are extraordinary… It’s sort of breathtakingly good.
Quint: I can’t wait.
Alan Rickman: And it’s unflinching. That’s the other thing I admire about it; it’s so completely unflinching in terms of… in a way the blood becomes a character and so it’s not something for people to be nervous of as it requires a different level of… it has different personalities depending on who’s throat is getting cut up. (laughs)
Quint: Yeah, one of the other writers for the site saw it in Chicago before he left and he was biting his tongue not to spoil anything in the film for me, but he described one sequence and he wouldn’t tell me who it was, so I don’t know who it is, but he described one sequence…
Alan Rickman: Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you either. It’s sort of the thing where everybody will have their own relationship to the movie, like all good movies I think.
Quint: Definitely having the surprise, especially with somebody with such a good eye for art direction like Burton and seeing how he tells that story on screen.
Alan Rickman: Absolutely. Well, I hope you see it on a big screen rather than a DVD.
Quint: Oh definitely yeah. It will be big screen with a great Austin audience and the audiences here in Austin are some of the best audiences in the world and I think that they are going to be really into it. I’ve been lucky enough to spend a lot of time over the last ten years visiting film sets, but I’ve never been to a musical set and, you know, I’ve been to fantasy and horror and drama and I’ve seen some of the great filmmakers work, but I’ve never once been on a musical set and I was just wondering how the tone and atmosphere on a set like that compares to a traditional set, especially one as vibrant as I would imagine a Tim Burton set to be.
Alan Rickman: Well, I can only talk about it from my perspective; A) of course one of the great things about the movie is the way speech moves into song imperceptibly and out again and back into speech and so it’s not a big number. It’s not that at all. It’s a complete departure in terms of film musicals and so there aren’t any big dance numbers and so it’s very different, so in that sense it’s pretty much the same as making another movie except of course when it comes to the songs you are lip-syncing and having to develop that skill.
Quint: Had you had experience in singing professionally?
Alan Rickman: Only in a kind of miniature way as in I sang a bit in a movie called TRULY MADLY DEEPLY, but that wasn’t exactly… It’s not as exposing as this and I had a little bit of theater, but this is like “Oh, and now you have to sing and… really sing,” but fortunately the lyrics are as important as the music and so you have a kind of double focus and it’s… maybe less nerve-wracking than it might be and the lyrics have to be matched as well as the music and so good… He’s a genius, that man.
Quint: Being on the internet, there’s a lot of negative people and I’ve seen a lot of criticism on Burton’s stuff, but I just have to admire his look. You look back at all the greats, they do have their style. Hitchcock’s movies you could tell what they looked like and I just love seeing Burton’s finger prints over his stuff. It’s almost become reassuring after twenty years of making movies to see somebody’s style. It’s not like he blatantly repeats himself even. It’s certainly recognizably Burton, but PEE-WEE doesn’t exactly look like ED WOOD which doesn’t look like BIG FISH…
Alan Rickman: Absolutely. I said to somebody the other day that anybody who doesn’t like this movie doesn’t deserve it. (laughs)
Quint: Well I really hope that I like the movie, then.
Alan Rickman: (laughs)
Alan Rickman: I’m in a general kind of cesspit in this film, so you know I’m not mincing up any limbs and…
Alan Rickman: So yeah, we are all in the same boat really and in actual fact that all of the dark characters are sort of, as it happens, from a very small list. They just happen to be movies that get a lot of publicity.
Quint: Well, I love your lighter stuff too, like GALAXY QUEST and DOGMA and what you have done in that and I’m actually a big fan of the ambiguity… the greyer characters like in LOVE ACTUALLY or PERFUME. But even with your darker characters you seem to give the same amount of sympathy to them… The most despicable people can be…
Alan Rickman: You can’t judge them. It’s for you to say “despicable.” It’s not for me to say that when I’m playing and it’s like that. I’ve got these two movies coming out, one in Sundance called BOTTLE SHOCK and another one called NOBEL SON that was at Tribeca that comes out in March and you know, those are the ones where you can’t actually put labels on them at all. They are who they are and that’s kind of how I view any character you play.
Quint: Yeah. Well you look at the big roles being the Sheriff of Nottingham or Hans Gruber and they are without question the audience favorite, do you seek out roles like that where it can be… even with the lighter characters, especially like GALAXY QUEST, where I think your character steals that film and that’s a really hard film to steal, especially with Sam Rockwell and Sigourney [Weaver] and what they do in that film, but I just wonder how much of that is up to you to strike that balance and how much of that is on the page.
Alan Rickman: I think that just depends, you know you work in so many dimensions. Mentioning Sigourney, she and I did a film that means a lot to me called SNOW CAKE that came out last year where she’s playing an adult autistic and I’m incredibly low key in terms of who he is, but you are working in three dimensions. I think with some of the things that you have talked about, one’s working in two dimensions, because we aren’t really interested in the inner psyche of Alexander Dane. That’s not the point of the film and it’s an incredibly witty take on all of that, but it owes more to other traditions I think than people who live in three dimensions. It’s just a different way of approaching things. I don’t know how to answer these questions honestly, because it’s like you read the script and then you get on with it and you use whichever colors are appropriate from the paint cupboard in a way and you have to be very selective. Some of them are just not appropriate and it depends on the part.
Quint: Are you very choosy with what comes to you? It sounds like now that you definitely pick your projects with care.
Alan Rickman: Yeah, I suppose, I mean because I still work in the theater and I direct and it’s a balancing act and then there are things that one is committed to that you know that they are going to be there for like the next year or two years and no, it is a bit pick and mix I suppose at the moment given that it’s an industry that rewards people under, what it feels like, under twelve. It’s a different world now if you’re a bit older than that and of course it’s worse for women or particularly difficult for women over a certain age, so I guess instinctively I gravitate towards independent movies which don’t get the same attention unless you are lucky. Having said that, of course one also enjoys doing the kind of big playground numbers which is what it feels like, just jumping into a playground.
[The representative says there is time for one more minute.]
Quint: That’s cool and I guess in this last minute I would just like to follow up on what you had to say about your upcoming projects. You said you had one premiering at Sundance, right?
Alan Rickman: Yeah, that’s called BOTTLE SHOCK which we shot it in Sonoma this summer. It’s the true story of a blind wine tasting that took place in 1976 in France with a French Jury, where American wines beat the French. Then NOBEL SON is from the same director actually accidently. The two movies are from the same director, Randall Miller, and I’ve seen one of them. NOBEL SON I think is terrific and I hope the same is true of BOTTLE SHOCK which is being edited as we speak.
Quint: Cool and thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and I really appreciate it.
Alan Rickman: Oh not at all. Thanks a lot.
Quint: No problem, have a good day.
Alan Rickman: Thanks, bye.
Hope you guys dug the chat. I was politely asked beforehand to not mention Harry Potter, so I did not. Honestly, though, I love his work in that series, but if I could delve into any of his well known characters for a while it’d probably be me talking Hans Gruber… I had to really resist the urge to ask him his thoughts on LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD… Enjoy SWEENEY TODD… I’ve now seen it and I love it to death. Such a damn fun movie. Anyway, hope you guys have a happy holiday! -Quint firstname.lastname@example.org
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Dec. 21, 2007, 3:48 a.m. CST
by Rev. Slappy
Just a terrific actor.
Dec. 21, 2007, 3:57 a.m. CST
he should have shoved his cock in takagi's mouth before debraining him.
didnt he say they would shoot a hostage every hour or something? heck if i was in charge i'd have hogtied the hostages and put them in a room, to ease manpower for search n destroy. also they shouldve known that the soul brotha who was giving spiritual comfort on the radio was somewhere there and off him so McClane would start talking to himself, even have 5 cigarettes in his mouth at once. also they should've gassed the building to root him out. maybe put heads on poles for intimidation
Dec. 21, 2007, 4:22 a.m. CST
cannot wait to see this. this will undoubtably rule! Rickman is all class.
Dec. 21, 2007, 4:45 a.m. CST
by Horace Cox
Big Al Rickman is the cat's ass. I would buy a ticket to watch this dude read the phone book for two hours.
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:17 a.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:34 a.m. CST
by Thick McRunFast
One of my all-time favorite actors. Two performances I remember getting literally giddy about while watching in recent years were J.K. Simmons as J.Jonah Jameson in the SPIDER-MAN movies and Rickman as Snape in the HARRY POTTER films. Bruce Willis probably owes his movie career to this man.
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:35 a.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:40 a.m. CST
... if you did ask him his thoughts on LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. I'd rather hear his answer to a question like that than how he approaches playing different characters. Maybe it's just me, but geeky questions like that are the reason Quint's interviews are usually more than just generic publicity for a film that you could read on any other site.
Dec. 21, 2007, 6:22 a.m. CST
by T 1000 xp professional
thank God he didn't think you were a cowboy
Dec. 21, 2007, 6:23 a.m. CST
by T 1000 xp professional
Although I do enjoy those character questions the geeky questions are what make the fans come back...it's a tough balancing act though. We understand.
Dec. 21, 2007, 6:53 a.m. CST
It is quite nice hearing a genius like Rickman talk about his art though. If Quint had gone into geek overdrive he may have closed up.
Dec. 21, 2007, 7:08 a.m. CST
... Rickman is about to finally have his day in "Half-Blood Prince."
Dec. 21, 2007, 7:16 a.m. CST
And 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' is a wonderful film, by the way.
Dec. 21, 2007, 7:19 a.m. CST
More respect next time Quint.
Dec. 21, 2007, 7:34 a.m. CST
... a DIE HARD prequel, tentatively titled GRUBER. It will be an exploration of the early years of criminal mastermind Hans Gruber, including his early childhood where we learn that his parents were eaten by a John Wayne impersonator, cementing his hatred of westerns and American cinema in general. This will lead him into a life of crime, during which he will be played by Shia LaBeouf speaking with a poor German accent. The film will lead up to Gruber joining and subsequently being expelled from the West German Volksfrei movement. While sitting in his studio apartment with his 27-year-old-trying-to-pass-for-17 girlfriend, a sulking Gruber (now played by an unconvincing "old" Shia, or an unconvincing "young" Rickman) will see a new story on television about the newly-constructed Nakatomi Building. The final shot will be Gruber staring contemplatively off-camera with a small smirk, stroking his chin. Just before the screen goes black, he winks into the camera.
Dec. 21, 2007, 7:38 a.m. CST
i kinda liked his portrayal... is it because it was a straight to cable thing?
Dec. 21, 2007, 7:59 a.m. CST
Is it a secrecy thing cos he kicks all kinds of ass in the next movie? Or is Rickman not happy about it? Enquiring minds wanna know!!
Dec. 21, 2007, 8:05 a.m. CST
To speak like Alan Rickman would be cool the Ladies would just fall at your feet.
Dec. 21, 2007, 9:17 a.m. CST
Rickman's a legend. Nothing less.
Dec. 21, 2007, 9:33 a.m. CST
He does not steal Galaxy Quest. That movie belongs to Sam Rockwell.
Dec. 21, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST
by Han Cholo
The way he portrays the Sherriff is funny but at the same time a real villain. "THAT'S MY WIFE, CRONE!!!"
Dec. 21, 2007, 9:50 a.m. CST
I've heard from numerous sources that he regrets taking the role of Snape.
Dec. 21, 2007, 10:03 a.m. CST
by Osmosis Jones
Dec. 21, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST
when i worked in PR rickman was a client and whenever he'd call, whomever picked up the phone would stand up and wave frantically so everybody knew to stealthily pick up their own phone and listen in on him just to get our candy. yummy!
Dec. 21, 2007, 10:18 a.m. CST
in the last movie you could tell he was throwing in an extra bit of scenery-chewing style that hadn't quite been there before - like he was thinking 'ok i'm trapped for a few more of these, may as well make the best of it.'
Dec. 21, 2007, 11:08 a.m. CST
And, he does steal Galaxy Quest. Rockwell does great, don't get me wrong, especially when he quizzes everyone on his own last name. <p>But Rickman's character was the only one I truly believed throughout. <p>Wouldn't it be ironic if Rickman had to go to Harry Potter conventions and apply his own Snape make-up and lament how he's a Shakespearian actor?
Dec. 21, 2007, 11:14 a.m. CST
One of those actors that gets referred to by his last name a lot. I don't find myself doing that with too many others....it just sounds badass. Rickman. He was DAMN good in "Perfume" (highly recommended!)
Dec. 21, 2007, 11:37 a.m. CST
Rickman totally Kicks ass as Professor Snape. There is no one else who could posssibly play Snape than Rickman.
Dec. 21, 2007, 11:49 a.m. CST
You never mentioned his work in Rasputin! C'mon man that's Rickman 101.
Dec. 21, 2007, 11:55 a.m. CST
I was about to say, Quint, you asshole, but then I read that last part and thought the better of it. <p>Maybe HP is bigger than SWEENEY TODD, and asking those questions would just take the attention away from the prime publicity its getting here.</p> <p>We can only hope that you get an interview with him on the 6th movie. Try gate crashing, Hollywood Style.</p>
Dec. 21, 2007, 12:40 p.m. CST
I knew someone who was negotiating to make a biopic on Aleister Crowley with Rickman attached as the Great Beast, but it never came to fruition. I'm also very curious about this Snape thing, as I think he's the one role that was perfectly cast and consistently the best portrayal in those films.
Dec. 21, 2007, 12:55 p.m. CST
sorry Alan, Die Hard made you in America. "By the time they figure out what went wrong.....we'll be sitting on a beach.....earning 20%." Classic.
Dec. 21, 2007, 1 p.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 1:07 p.m. CST
rasputin was good.
Dec. 21, 2007, 1:17 p.m. CST
Great interview and, oh that sexy, sexy voice. Mmmm loving those sound clips.
Dec. 21, 2007, 1:29 p.m. CST
Rickman is not tired of playing Snape as much as he is tired of playing villains. He was cool with Snape until HBP came out and his character killed Dumbledore.
Dec. 21, 2007, 1:41 p.m. CST
by Grammaton Cleric Binks
Harry Potter, but there is so much more greatness to him. Love Actually was awesome. It's a chick flick that's not a chick flick. I love the part where he's talking with Laura Linney about her love life. My feeble words can't describe the scene you just need to see it. Die Hard was great, but picture it without Rickman, and the question becomes would Willis have had the career he has had? I think Gruber was listed as one of the top movie villains of call time by AFI.
Dec. 21, 2007, 2:04 p.m. CST
was superb, as was Ian McKellan's portrayal as the Tzar, who you kind of sympathied a bit for, the first time anyone in that role made me feel that way. Good movie all round.
Dec. 21, 2007, 3 p.m. CST
...some people actually don't know that little tidbit. And I heard the rumors of him regretting Snape long before HBP came out. But for those who worry what it means for the future, I'm pretty sure he's locked in for the final 2 films. I think he's just ready for it to be over.
Dec. 21, 2007, 3:33 p.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 3:45 p.m. CST
I live in Prague and I saw that movie in the cinema here. It's excellent. I highly recommend it.
Dec. 21, 2007, 3:49 p.m. CST
by Read and Shut Up
He's great in every role. The interview DID get a bit tired with all the "Tim Burton" ass smooching, though.
Dec. 21, 2007, 4:05 p.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 4:26 p.m. CST
Also great in Sense and Sensibility (charming and sincere romantic lead)and Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as the voice of Marvin.
Dec. 21, 2007, 4:33 p.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:29 p.m. CST
I like this one: http://youtube.com/watch?v=zvnjKEBdvxg
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:30 p.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:47 p.m. CST
I'm going to count to three. There will not be a four.
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:47 p.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:48 p.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 5:48 p.m. CST
Dec. 21, 2007, 6:06 p.m. CST
Hans, put down the gun!
Dec. 21, 2007, 6:36 p.m. CST
by 5 by 5
Yeah why were you told not to mention Potter? Seems a bit odd. His performances in that series are awesome even if they are short.
Dec. 21, 2007, 7:04 p.m. CST
project he does. I have no clue what it is but there are some actors that simply make the moment better when they are on stage or screen. Love his work.<p>Also, thanks for the interview Quint. Very good.
Dec. 21, 2007, 7:21 p.m. CST
quite explicit passive aggression Rickman was emitting. In fact, it was kind of strange listening to his tetchy Sound-O-Bytes, and then seeing the words given a sparky Quint spin when put into text. Do you do that in a lot of interviews, Quint? Trouble with you is, you're just too nice.<p> </p>Also, he was obviously getting quite annoyed at the fact that you kept on mentioning his biggest movies, rather than, say, the short movies he cut with Anthony Minghella.<p> </p>You ask me, he came off pretty assholish with this interview, but maybe that might have something to do with the fact that it was just one of hundreds a big-name actor has to go through over the course of their career. Also, what better way is there to promote your under-seen roles than in an interview like this?
Dec. 21, 2007, 8 p.m. CST
I believe he doesn't like talking about Harry Potter because he hasn't finished playing the role of Snape, you have to see the whole picture to get who Snape is, he doesn't want to discuss an unfinished project (or give away what happens to movie-only fans). He would have left the series by now if he didn't like playing the character. Even the kids weren't contractually obliged to appear in all the movies so why would he be? Besides, Snape is right up his alley, he loves playing ambiguous characters. Sadly, there's just no time in the movies to give Snape the right treatment (he's barely in the 4th and 5th movie!), but hopefully we'll be seeing the most of Rickman we've had in HP so far in Half-Blood Prince. And I'm looking forward to seeing him give Harry the final piece of the puzzle in Deathly Hallows, just as he's dying (is that a spoiler, not really). Whatever, Sweeney Todd is gonna be a definite must-see.
Dec. 21, 2007, 8:44 p.m. CST
If you love Alan Rickman, go search out a movie he does with Madeline Stowe called Closet Land. Absolutely brilliant. Those two actors, one room, and a lot of Sci/Fi Dystopian torture as Rickman tries to get Stowe's secrets. Rickman is amazing. I have never met anyone who has seen the film however. Don't think it is at any of the rental stores. Oh Well.
Dec. 21, 2007, 8:52 p.m. CST
his work in Sense and Sensibility (sp) was fantastic.
Dec. 21, 2007, 10:08 p.m. CST
by Osmosis Jones
...a child? Just another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he's John Wayne...Rambo...Marshall Dillon?
Dec. 22, 2007, 12:28 a.m. CST
I mean, some pretty high-profile releases today, and all we get is an interview with Alan Rickman? Don't get me wrong...it's a great interview and all, but this site's been stagnant all day while some pretty big releases are opening around us. Where is everybody? Watching HD-DVD porn on their BNAT freebies?
Dec. 22, 2007, 4:53 a.m. CST
...what a bargain..." <p> Best. Delivery. Ever. <p> One of the funniest GalaxyQuest moments with Rickman is actually in the deleted scene where he's shown to his "alien" quarters on the spaceship. His deadpan reaction to the "comforts" of his rooms is fucking hysterical. <p> His Sheriff of Nottingham is a true classic: <p> "...or I'll cut your heart out with a... SFTHFFPOON!!" <p> I'll watch Rickman in anything.
Dec. 22, 2007, 1:50 p.m. CST
Shame, really, but EVERYTHING Rickman does is amazing, so you could talk about anything. (You really can't think of one movie that he was bad in.) However, Potter is now probably his most recognizable and biggest profile rule, seems odd that he'd dimiss it like that.
Dec. 23, 2007, 2:16 a.m. CST
He's not talking Potter in this interview is because he's promoting his role in Sweeney Todd, not Harry Potter.
Dec. 24, 2007, 7:42 p.m. CST
That guy is class with a capital "C"
Dec. 28, 2007, 12:09 p.m. CST
Allen would be on my top five list!
Dec. 30, 2007, 1:06 a.m. CST
If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. He plays an interrogator/torturer. It's a great movie.
Jan. 3, 2008, 12:05 p.m. CST
You did a GREAT job on the Rickman interview. It was very informative and I especially liked your focus on filmmaking. Great job, congrats!
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