Harry Potter: Behind The Scenes Stories About Alan Rickman


While the debate over whether Snape was evil or a hero is never-ending, we are all certain that the actor behind him was a sweetheart to the film industry. Unlike the brooding and grumpy disposition of the professor of potions, Alan Rickman was a fun-loving man. His costars have always described him as a compassionate and lovable person on the set. Of course, his brilliant acting chops never gave away his true face on the screen. Harry and the rest of the Gryffindor House were constantly in animosity with Snape, but in real life, the kids were super close to the late actor. Without further ado, let us find out the 10 behind the scenes stories about Alan Rickman from the sets of Harry Potter.

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His Costume Size SECRETLY Changed

snape costume 1


Snape’s costume and look were the most constant throughout the “Harry Potter” franchise, except for the size. Every time Alan Rickman went for holidays, he would always return with some extra holiday weight. But the actor never realized it as the costume department would secretly increase the costume sizes without telling him.  

Listened to Music In The Great Hall Scenes

snape at great hall


While Harry, Hermione, Ron, and we keenly observed Snape, as he sat to dine with the other professors at the Great Hall, in reality, Alan Rickman used to listen to his iPod from under the robes. It’s hilarious to recall it now since the camera always threw him under a suspicious light as if Snape was up to something shady. But little did we know that he was only chilling on music.

Played A Prank on Daniel Radcliff

Snape laughing


As kids, we would always doubt our friends and classmates whenever a prank is played on us. No one would ever dare raise the finger on reverent grown-ups. Looks like Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), and director Alfonso Cuaron took advantage of their seniority and targeted poor Daniel Radcliff. They hid remote-controlled fart making object inside Daniel’s sleeping bag and played it during the most embarrassing moments. “I immediately thought: ‘This is one of the other kids [messing] around, and we were going to get in trouble,'” Daniel said. “But as it turns out, it was one of the members of Britain’s acting royalty.”

Cast A Child Fan With Cancer

snape scary


One day, when the studio was filming “Prisoner of Azkaban”, a teenage boy named Jay who was diagnosed with the last stage of cancer showed up on the set and requested to be in the film. While the producer couldn’t place him anywhere since the filming had already begun, Alan Rickman stepped in and turned the boy’s dream into reality. According to producer Paula DuPre Pesman “[What Jay] really wanted was to be in the film, not just visiting. I said, “Well, we can’t really do that, and you’re already here.” Alan came over and introduced himself to Jay, and Jay was so happy to meet him.” 

She continued “Alan looked at me, and he kind of went into his Snape-mode in costume, and said, “Why isn’t this child in the film?” Everyone had a good laugh, and Alan took him by the hand and put him into the crowd of kids as they were panning across. The back of him is actually in a shot.”


Kept A Sketch Drawn by Rupert Grint

ron weasley

What would Professor Snape do if he caught Ron drawing a funny sketch of him? Perhaps, he would make him clean thousands of test tubes and beakers or give him 3000 words of essay to write. But since it was Alan Rickman who caught Rupert Grint doodling his caricature behind the scenes, he made the young artist sign it and kept it in his possession as a souvenir. 


Entertained Little Fans On Set

alan rickman and kids

Everyone on the magical set of Wizards was amazed to see Rickman’s entourage of little kids. While the crew was intimidated by his persona just like the fictional characters did, children who visited the set had no trouble bonding with him. Evanna Lynch described it in the best way by saying “It was the most bizarre scene to see Snape in this black robe, usually with, like, a bib on – we had to wear these bibs so we didn’t ruin our costume – surrounded by all these happy little children who were just chatting away to him.”


Guided Young Actors on Set

snape and ron

By the end of the series, we all learnt about Snape’s good intentions of protecting Harry and preparing him to fight Voldemort. Alan Rickman, on the other hand, left no mystery about his benevolent and wise disposition. He understood the toll that the acting business took on actors, especially the young stars, and therefore always looked out for the kids on sets. Several young actors from “Harry Potter” series, Matthew Lewis, Devon Murray, Sean Biggerstaff, etc., are grateful to Alan Rickman for his career and life advice.


Treated Daniel Radcliff As An Equal

alan rickman and daniel radcliff

According to Harry Potter actor, Daniel Radcliff, Alan Rickman, whom he met at the age of about 12 treated him like a peer and not a child. On the actor’s passing away, Daniel was one of his many costars who came forward to offer their tribute. He wrote “undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with” and “one of the most loyal and most supportive people I’ve ever met in the film industry.”. Radcliff added, “As an actor, he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child.”


His Method Acting Scared The Kids

snape class

We are not new to hearing how some actors’ method of acting freaks out the cast and crew. Jared Leto’s method-acting as Joker is one of the biggest and most recent examples. Similarly, the super talented Alan Rickman also adopted the same technique while playing the cynical professor of potions at Hogwarts. But most of the young actors on the set were terrified whenever Rickman got into his costume. According to Evanna Lynch who played Luna Lovegood he “was a method actor, so we were all pretty much terrified of him on set. I just remember him being creepy around the corridors. He didn’t smile, and everyone talked about him in a reverent tone.” 


Helped Design Snape Costume

snape costume

Sometimes the actors have an equal say in envisioning their costumes as much as the designers. Investing so much time in studying their part allows the actors to get into their characters’ psyche. Severus Snape’s signature black-caped costume was based on Alan Rickman’s understanding of the wizard. When asked, Rickman said, “I was very involved in the costume and the look,”. He added, “I said the sleeves should be really tight, and there should be a lot of buttons.”


Written by Ipshita Barua