You can say a lot of things about the quality of the Harry Potter movies, but few would cast aspersions on the quality of the cast. With almost no exceptions — sorry, Michael Gambon Dumbledore fans — the entire Harry Potter cast are just absolutely fantastic.
If we had to pick out the MVP, though, it would be Alan Rickman as Snape. Now it helps that of all the Harry Potter characters, Snape is easily the most fascinating, but Rickman made the potions master his own, and it’s him I picture when I read the books, something that can’t be said of all the characters.
It’s strange to hear then that Rickman very nearly turned down the role that taught kids across the world his name. In an interview with the AV Club, Chris Columbus, who directed the first two fantasy movies, said Rickman had to be convinced to take the role because he was worried about being typecast.
“He was reluctant because he didn’t want to be typecast as a villain, particularly after Die Hard and, I guess, Robin Hood,” Colombus said. He went on to add it was the Harry Potter author who convinced Rickman to take the role by sharing with him some of the character’s secrets.
“[The author] took him out to dinner and told him something about what was going to happen to Snape throughout the series and in the seventh book,” Columbus explained. Although we don’t know for certain, it’s probable that Rickman was told Snape wasn’t a villain but had, in fact, been in love with Harry’s mum Lily and was a double agent.
Rickman clearly liked what he heard and agreed to take the role giving us one of his best performances. If you love the Wizarding World, check out our list of the best Harry Potter villains, don’t worry; Snape’s not on there. Or, if you’re looking for something a bit grander, we have a guide to the best fantasy series.