In 2016, the world gasped at the shock of actor Alan Rickman’s passing. Known for his deadpan delivery and snide mannerisms, Rickman was well known to movie-lovers across the globe for his roles as The Sherriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Metatron in Dogma, Harry in Love Actually, and of course his iconic silver screen debut as the ruthless Hans Gruber in the critically acclaimed 1988 action film, Die Hard. Most famously of all, however, is Alan Rickman’s role as Severus Snape, who appears in all eight Harry Potter films.
Originally written as seven books, the final entry, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was split into two feature-length films, allowing Warner Bros. to scoop up double the box office cash. Director David Yates, who took on the role as director for those films and the two preceding it, apparently didn’t see eye to eye with the late Alan Rickman in the handling of Severus Snape, according to Independent.
“It’s as if David Yates has decided that this is not important in the scheme of things i.e. teen audience appeal,” Rickman wrote in a recently surfaced letter written during film production.
The letter in question is but a single item being put up for auction for the London ABA Rare Book Fair.
But it appears Rickman’s troubles date back much further than Yates’ time in the driver’s seat of the $2 billion movie franchise. Contents of this auction also include a letter going back to the production of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 2002 from producer David Heyman thanking the actor for working through his frustrations and iterating the integral nature of Rickman’s role in the overall story. Filmmaker David Yates didn’t begin directing duties until 2007’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Also accompanying the Yates indictment is a letter written by the celebrated author of the entire Harry Potter book series, J.K. Rowling. In the letter, Rowling expresses her gratitude to Rickman for his accurate portrayal of Severus Snape, one of her most personally beloved and complex characters.
Currently, this collection of over 35 boxes which include scripts, journals, and hand-written letters of correspondence with Alan Rickman are valued at £950,000. As of the time of this writing, that translates to just over $1.25 million.
On January 14, 2016, Alan Rickman died unexpectedly of pancreatic cancer, just four days after the similarly shocking death of musician David Bowie. Alan Rickman was 69-years-old.