Alan Rickman Brought Hans Gruber’s Real Origins To Life

Jon Mark - Author

Jan. 15 2016, Updated 2:00 a.m. ET

The entertainment world and its fans are mourning the unexpected loss of actor Alan Rickman to cancer this week as reported by The Inquisitr; a man who not only seized some of the most memorable roles in film history, but also the fictional Nakatomi building as Hans Gruber in the original 1988 movie, Die Hard.

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The American Film Institute (AFI) who considers itself to be the main preserver of the heritage of the motion picture industry has a list of the 100 greatest heroes and villains and puts Hans Gruber at number 46 on that list.

According to the AFI, in order to make the list they have specific requirements.

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  • Villain: For voting purposes, a “villain” was defined as a character(s) whose wickedness of mind, selfishness of character and will to power are sometimes masked by beauty and nobility, while others may rage unmasked. They can be horribly evil or grandiosely funny, but are ultimately tragic.
  • Cultural Impact: Characters who have a made a mark on American society in matters of style and substance.
  • Legacy: Characters who elicit strong reactions across time, enriching America’s film heritage while continuing to inspire contemporary artists and audiences.

When Alan Rickman was asked about his Hans Gruber character, he responded in defense of being referred to as a villain in a rare clip of an out take from the making of the movie, which is available to see on YouTube.

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“As far as I’m concerned I’m not playing the villain, I’m just playing somebody who wants certain things in life, has made certain choices and goes after them.”

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His admitted approach to Hans Gruber is not usually the center of focus during promotional periods, but it is common among actors. Such as with Micheal Keaton, who during his interview in the popular podcast WTF with Marc Maron, admitted that his character, while considered a villain in the remake of Robocop, is a person motivated by doing what he thought was the right thing.

When Die Hard was released in 1998, in the then popular film review show At The Movies with Siskel and Ebert, the two film critics are in agreement with Alan Rickman’s performance as Hans Gruber.

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