Robbie Coltrane reflects on his Harry Potter role as Hagrid in 2011
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The world lost another great British star yesterday when Robbie Coltrane passed away aged 72,mourned by the Harry Potter fandom for his iconic portrayal of gentle giant Hagrid. Fellow Potter icon Rickman’s diaries were published last month, full of waspishly wizard observations about his time on the franchise. Coltrane famously said of working with him on the films: “Alan Rickman has grown up tremendously. He was a bit flighty and immature when we started and look at him now. He’s in a suit, he’s sober, he’s behaving himself. It’s lovely.” SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH ROBBIE COLTRANE’S HILARIOUS COMMENTS ABOUT ALAN RICKMAN
The memoire confirms that the Rickman wanted to get out of the franchise as early 2002, when he wrote on December 4 about meetings with his agent: “Talking to Paul Lyon-Maris about HP exit, which he thinks will happen. But here we are in the project-collision area again. Reiterating no more HP. They don’t want to hear it.”
Rickman describes his very first chats with author JK Rowling and her “nervous” revelations about Snape that enabled the actor to understand his character and ultimately stopped him giving up on the entire franchise.
On October 6 and 7, 2000, Rickman wrote: “First conversation with Joanne Rowling. Her sister answers – ‘She’s not here – can I leave a message?’ cackling in the background … ‘Sorry about that! …’ (I tell her) There are things that only Snape & you know – I need to know…’ ‘You’re right – call me tomorrow; no one else knows these things.’
“Talk to Joanne Rowling again and she nervously lets me in on a few glimpses of Snape’s background. Talking to her is talking to someone who lives these stories, not invents them.”
It was only after the franchise finally finished that Rowling finally revealed that she had told him that Snape had always loved Harry’s mother, Lily.
On July 27, 2006, Rickman wrote: “I have finished reading the last Harry Potter book (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus. This was a genuine rite of passage. One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hang on to.”
However, from the very start his comments are peppered with his frustrations with the films. Filming the Half Blood Prince he talks of wanting to bash the directors and producers’ heads “against the wall… I get the character development and the spiffing effects (dazzling), but where is the story???”
Rickman often described finding solace in the camaraderie with the older actors, like tapas meals with Coltrane “for many plates of deep-fried indulgence” or raiding hotel mini bars for wine and chocolate.
Rickman had high praise for Ralph Fiennes’ portrayal of Voldemort and singled out Snape’s death scene as “the absolute example of what can happen when a couple of actors pick up a scene off the page and work with the story, the space and each other.”
He also shared the hilarious way the line “take out your wand” kept reducing Helena Bonham-Carter to giggles, and said Helen McRory: “says she’s terrified but fits like a glove with the mayhem.”
Co-stars Maggie Smith, Zoë Wanamaker, Ian Hart, Richard Harris are “in their ways sweet, funny souls,” but some of his comments about the lead cast were rather more blunt.
In May 2003, Rickman wrote of Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe: “Serious and focused – but with a sense of fun. I still don’t think he’s really an actor but he will undoubtedly direct/produce.”
The same year he wrote: “these kids need directing. They don’t know their lines and Emma [Watson]’s diction is this side of Albania at times.”
But his main frustrations were with the scripts and directing which placed blockbuster demands above craft. During the 2004 Goblet of Fire shoot, he wrote: “I feel so shafted on this film.”
One of his very last Potter posts from January 14, 2010, while filming The Deathly Hallows Part 2 with director David Yates. Rickman says: “Finding it hard to remember any particular scenes over the years mainly because all the decisions are taken in committee rooms and not on the floor. We listen as DY tells us what we are thinking and why (and in some cases recounts the story…) and a small piece of something creative caves in.”
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