Alan Rickman’s diary reveals why he decided to stay in Harry Potter after trying to quit

Alan Rickman’s diary reveals why he decided to stay in Harry Potter after trying to quit

Alan Rickman’s diary has revealed the actor’s inner thoughts about his memorable role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter film saga.

The diary, which Rickman kept for decades, will be published by Canongate Books on 4 October under the title Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman.

Excerpts published by The Guardian show that the late actor fought to leave the beloved franchise, but ultimately decided to stay as JK Rowling’s material gave him “a cliff edge to hang on to”.

In January 2002, the Love Actually star said that working on the franchise felt neverending. He wrote: “Nice to see them all again but it’s a dreamlike thing, as if it has never stopped. And in a way, it hasn’t – and won’t …”

In a 4 December 2002 entry, written after the release of the second film, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rickman first talks about leaving the franchise and hints that it has been an ongoing discussion.

“Talking to [agent] Paul Lyon-Maris about HP exit, which he thinks will happen. But here we are in the project-collision area again. Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it.”

Alan Rickman as Severus Snape (Warner Bros)
Alan Rickman as Severus Snape (Warner Bros)

Rickman’s eventual decision to stay in the franchise came in January 2006, weeks after he underwent surgery for an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

“Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: ‘See it through. It’s your story’,” he wrote.

The actor later revealed the reason he decided to stay was down to Snape’s undying love for Harry’s mother, Lily Potter.

“I have finished reading the last Harry Potter book,” the actor wrote in July 2007. “Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus. This was a genuine rite of passage. One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hang on to.”

Rickman died of cancer in 2016, at the age of 69. He was remembered by the cast in the Return to Hogwarts special that aired at the beginning of 2022.