Ever the professional, Alan Rickman kept up his characterization of Snape even when the cameras weren’t rolling on set, meaning that, especially in the early movies, the young Harry Potter stars were quite simply terrified of him.
“He had this incredible quality of keeping in Snape,” Bonnie Wright, who played Harry Potter character Ginny Weasley, explained. “[He was Snape] the minute he got out of the car in the morning, which is obviously a chilling experience as a child.”
Throughout the Harry Potter movies in order, many of the Harry Potter cast members, like Wright, grew up before our eyes. But Alan Rickman was 54 when he started playing the Harry Potter villain. And Rupert Grint, who played Harry Potter character Ron Weasley, quickly learned that Rickman was not someone you wanted to mess with.
Speaking to Hollywood Life, Grint shared how, in one of the earlier Harry Potter films, Rickman found a rather unflattering caricature he drew of him while filming.
“I remember once in the early films, I drew a picture of him in a Potions class,” Grint recalled. “It wasn’t the most flattering portrait. I can remember feeling him breathing down my neck as he was watching me do it. I was really terrified, but he was really cool about it in the end. He kept it and he was just the sweetest guy.”
In a featurette for one of the later Harry Potter movies, Rickman laughed at the memory of the caricature, admitting he was “quite fond” of the drawing. “I made him [Grint] sign it, and I still have it in my possession,” Rickman said.
Clearly, Rickman couldn’t have been more different from Snape in real life, as the late actor struck up a bond with several of the young stars and took on-set pranks like Grint’s in good humor. The cast’s friendship off-camera definitely contributed to their on-screen chemistry and is likely a big part of why we look back on the Harry Potter movies as some of the best movies of all time.
For more on the Wizarding World, check out our guides to the potential new movie Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the upcoming Harry Potter TV series. Or, if you’re more into dragons than Hippogriffs, check out our guide to House of the Dragon season 2.