Alan Rickman

  1. Chris Barrie, Red Dwarf, TV, 1988-1999.      First choice for the hologramatic Arnold Judas Rimmer – with Alfred Molina as Lister. Until the BBC realised neither one wouldnever be available if the series took off. Barrie was one of the voices of the politico-satirical Spitting Image puppets.
  2. John Malkovich, Dangerous Liaisons, 1988.     Having played the Vicomte de Valmont on the West End and Broadway stages,  Rickman was first choice for the film but preferred to be the Die Hard villain.  As he watched Malkovich in his period costume in various Paris chateaux whee I overheard UK director Stephen Frears moaning: “He doesn’t walk like an  artistocrat, he walks like a cowboy.” 
  3. Michael Keaton, Batman, 1988.
  4. Gary Oldman, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992.  Director Francis Coppola decided to make the old legend “younger, very erotic, very romantic and very horrific.” Losing his favourites – Jeremy Irons, Daniel Day-Lewis – Francey looked at everyone else, mainly during auditions at his Napa Valley estate… Rickman, Armand Assante, Antonio Banderas, Nick Cassavetes, Nicolas Cage, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Andy Garcia, Hugh Grant, Ray Liotta, Kyle MacLachlan, Viggo Mortensen, Dermot Mulroney, Michael Nouri (a long way from Flashdance), Adrian Pasdar, Jason Patric, Aiden Quinn, Keanu Reeves, Christian Slater and Sting
  5. Charles Dance, Last Action Hero, 1993.       Dance was sure his part was written for  Rickman.It was but Dance actually replaced Timothy Dalton.
  6. Jim Carrey, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, 1993.        Rickman ached for Hollywood glory, said the  Dangerous Liaisons playwright and scenarist Christopher Hampton.  But surely this would have been too over the top.  Even for Alan. Also in the mix: Rick Moranis, Judd Nelson a  nd…Whoopi Goldberg.
  7. Michael Caine, On Deadly Ground, 1994.   What?! With Steven Seagal directing himself? That was an obvious insault for Rickman and Anthony Hopkins. But Caine…  He must have had another house to buy…
  8. Hugh Grant, Four Weddings and a Funeral, 1993.   Or what the US distributor Gramacy wanted to  call it: Rolling In The Aisles.  Or Loitering In Sacred Places.  OrThe Best Man. “It felt like we auditioned every young man between 18-32 in England, producer Duncan Kenworthy told Deadline Hollywood’s 25 years later special. “Initially, we weren’t convinced by anyone.” Not even, Tim Roth. Alex Jennings in 992 and Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman a year later. Director Mike Newell, scenarist Richard Curtis and Kenworthy voted – “two to one in Hugh’s favour.”  Curtis had voted against Grant  was too good looking and maybe seen as too posh. “I’d loved Alan Rickman in  Close My Eyes  but he didn’t want to audition. Hugh did a perfect audition and thank God we went for him.”  “He can  do Richard’s words like no one else can,” added

    Tim Bevan, “but  he wasn’t a slam dunk at the time, he wasn’t a movie star.”   Indeed, Grant was so low on  the register, he was teaching French actor Juliette Binoche how to master an English accent and being paid cash in hand – “like the plumber.”

  9. Sean Bean, GoldenEye, 1995.
  10. Gary Martin, Red Dwarf #43 : Epideme, TV, 1996.   Long before their Harry Potter and X-Men franchises, Rickman and Patrick Stewart passed on  voicing the titular virus (intelligent but with an annoying personality).  Voice artist Martin was a pal of Danny John-Jules – had even  accompanied him  to his initial audition for Cat.

  11. Tom Wilkinson, The Full Monty,  1996.    Rickman and Richard Grtiffiths (the huge Uncle Vernon in the Harry Potter franchise) both passed on Gerald, the delightful scene stealer amoing the  sixunemployed Sheffield steelworkers turning into Chippendale strippers to bring home some bacon. The US suits did not understand anything. ”But there’s no guy called Monty in the script!”
  12. John Goodman, The Borrowers, 1996.    The delicious villain, Ocious P Potter,  was not in the 1952 Marty Norton  book that Peter Sellers tried to film in 1964.  So he would have been Pod, the four-inch-high patriarch  of the tiny Clock family living  beneath the floorboards of a house owned by ”human beans”.  Three versions had already been hits  when this Anglo–American version was launched. The battle for Ocious was, therefore, UK v US…   Martin Clunes, Bob Hoskins, Griff Rhys Jones, Alan Rickman v Tim Allen, Chevy Chase, Danny DeVito, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Steve Martin, Bill Murray,  Ed O’Neill, Robin Williams.  The fact that Pesci was also suggested signaled a ton of Home Alone physical attacks on poor Goodman, which out off both Steven Spielberg and his apprentice, Robert Zemeckis, from directing.  They weren’t required!  Nor were Rowan Atkinson and comic-turned-director Mel Smith – off busily making their own Bean movie for the same UK/US companies.
  13. Pete Postlethwaite, Crimetime, 1997.     Money was too tight for such first choices as Rickman and Geraldine Chaplin. She stayed, he didn’t.
  14. Lothaire Bluteau, Nostromo, TV, 1997.      During his thwarted attempt to film the Joseph Conrad novel, iconic director David Lean took his scenarist Christopher Hampton’s advice and tested the Valmont he’d enjoyed in Hampton’s stage version of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
  15. Alec Baldwin, Clerks,  TV, 2000-2001.   Unimpressed by the idea of basing Leonardo on his Die Hardvillain, Rickman said the toon should be more like him. Eventually, Baldwin was signed to go the Hans Gruber route. Didn’t help. Six episodes of the series version of the 1993 Kevin Smith film were shot, only two aired before Disney pulled the plug.  (Rickman had starred in Smith’s talkfest: Dogma, 1999).
  16. Jason Isaacs, Peter Pan, 2001.     . Rupert Everett and Gary Oldman were also potentials for Captain Hook. Sounds like another of the Harry Potter auditions. Except Oldman and Rickman were already aboard and, soon enough, Isaacs as well. 
  17. Stephen Fry, Gosford Park, 2001.   Change of the M’sieur Hulot-clad Inspector Thompson as Robert Altman had his most surprising success (at age 76). Upstairs and Downstairs meets Agatha Christie in a UK country house whodunnit.! Created by Julian Fellowes… as the matrix of his later tele-triumph. Downton Abbey. Maggie Smith stole both shows. As he knew she would.
  18. Steve Martin, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, 2002.  “A pretty grim experience all around –  longest year and a half of my life.”  Director Joe Dante refusing to say anymore about how his planned tribute to his late friend, toon ikon Chuck Jones, ended up a mess. Then again, when the suits approve Martin over Rickman, Tim Allen, William Fichtner, James Gandolfini, David Koechner, Seth MacFarlane and Robin Williams for Mr Chairman,  you know you’re in trouble.

  19. Denzel Washington, Man on Fire, 2004.   
    Tony Scott backed out of directing the first version in 1986, but helped  Denzel Washington retrieve his lost taste for acting in this re-make.  Sergio Leone chose  Robert De Niro  and Marlon Brando nearly played A J Quinnell’s ex-CIA hero turned mercenary (certainly helped re-write  him) but Scott Glenn won the  role. Tony Scott  had wanted Robert Duvall. The new scriptwriter, Brian Helgeland,  recalled going  into the LA Video Archives store  in the 80s and asking the clerk: “What’s good?” The clerk said:  Man on Fire. The clerk was Quentin Tarantino.  In both films Creasy  is trying to rescue a kidnapped girl, almost a daughter to him, that  he’s bodyguarding.  Yeah, rather like a matrix for Liam Neeson’s Takens. So no surprise to find Liam among some 25 actors up for Creasy. Alec Baldwin, Sean Bean (a nearly 007),  Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Andy Garcia, Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, Viggo Mortensen,  Gary Oldman, Dennis Quaid, Keanu Reeves, Alan Rickman, Kurt Russell,  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis…  even our dear old  Bob Hoskins.  Creasy was later  Bollywooded by the inimitable  Amitabh Bachchan (at age  63!). There were three songs, of course!

  20. John Goodman, Red State, 2010.    Rickman was stuck in Harry Potterland, Sam Jackson was way too busy to be federal agent Keenan in Kevin Smith’s take on The Wicker Man. 1973. His 16th film had the usual mix of sex, religion and politics. Except this was more Waco than whacko. Or as he put it “a nasty-ass $4mill horror flick with few (if any) redeeming characters.” Shot in sequence over 25 days, Smith edited by night and was able to screen the first cut at the wrap party. Beat that, Spielberg!
  21. Chris Cooper, The Muppets, 2011.  Villain of the piece, wanting to demolish the Muppet Theatre to get at the oil beneath, is Tex Richman (!). He was written for Rickman but hey, Cooper was a support Oscar-winner – for Adaptation – on March 23, 2003.
  22. Glenn Close, Guardians of the Galaxy, 2013.       Two Brits, Rickman and Hugh Laurie, were on the Marvel wish list for Nova Prime Ifrani Rael, chief  the Nova Corps, protecting citizens and keeping the  peace.  Then Close came to mind… “Nobody had to woo me! I’ve always wanted to be in a movie like this. To me, it’s the most fun to play something like the Judi Dench/Samuel L. Jackson role, where I’d be the head of all the peacekeepers in the galaxy. I didn’t hesitate for a moment!”
  23. James Corden, Into The Woods, 2013.
  24. Bill Nighy, The Limehouse Golem, 2016.   “Before The Ripper, fear had another name…” Nighy became author Roger Ackroyd’s Inspector Kildare when Rickman was diagnosed with the pancreatic cancer that killed him at 69, on January 14, 2016.   Hence: This film is dedicated to the memory of Alan Rickman.  “One of the sweetest, kindest, nicest, and most incredibly smart men I’ve ever met,” said Brian Co, in his 2021 memoirs, Putting the Rabbit into the Hat:



 Birth year: 1945Death year: 2016Other name: Casting Calls:  24