Speaking as both a film nerd and aficionado of the craft of acting, I was devastated to hear of the loss of Alan Rickman today. It hasn’t been a good few weeks; the world just lost Bowie, and Lemmy, both huge heroes of mine, too; but Rickman was the only one where I felt compelled to write something down.
For my money, no actor in the world was better than him at delivering lines.
His sonorous voice was lovely to listen to, but where he really brought skill into the craft was his ability to time perfectly everything he said. With this he could mine humor or pathos from the simplest one-liners in a way that always had me enraptured. I can’t think of any other actor who was better at it, personally.
His voice is perfect but he makes the line hilarious by waiting for just the right amount of time; his face twitches, and you can really just hear how much he hates his catchphrase. It tells you so much about his character. One line! That makes the payoff so perfect much later in the film:
He was acting perfection, no one else could have done that part justice and the same goes for Hans Gruber, Professor Snape, and so many others. Here are just a few of my other favorite Rickman line deliveries:
I love the way he just rolls his eyes the whole time. You can tell he’s had this conversation a million times and just thinks humans are so stupid.
Do I still love Alan Rickman after all this time? Always.
Now here he reads Sonnet 130:
RIP Mr. Rickman, you were an icon and an inspiration. Your ability as an actor was unparalleled and you will be greatly missed.