I bought this earlier this year before my Barnes & Nobles Membership expired. It was a worthwhile purchase for personal and research purposes. Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman gives a teaspoon view of the behind-the-scenes life of beloved British Actor Alan Rickman’s life. I say teaspoon because the book is obviously edited, and I am almost certain a lot was redacted or kept private. Whether it was more personal concerns or deeper thoughts on his romantic life may forever remain a mystery.
Fresh from reading the book, I can say that this book is definitely very gossipy. Initial reaction, anger! I know there is much more content. But, the actors and directors and producers which he mentions in his diaries may find themselves in hot water or the estate of Mr. Rickman may want to avoid stepping on toes, so it’s also very watered down. Yet, I can picture researchers itching to use the material for PhD dissertations.
The theatre and film geek inside me really enjoyed reading some of the tidbits that made up his life. It’s no surprise that there was some friction with Tim Allen; Mr. Rickman is as classy about it in his writing as he would have been in an interview. When he writes about Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson, the warmth shines through. Also, I’m very glad he wrote about Anthony Minghella, the director of one of the most beautiful films that Alan Rickman ever made, Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990). Minghella died tragically in 2008 and was such an inspiring director. Rickman was a very social guy that really enjoyed his relationships with fellow actors, directors, and producers. Dinner and a show was his favorite pastime. His acquaintance with Meryl Streep and their unfulfilled desire to work together was such an insightful detail.
I was really touched that Rickman dedicated such a beautiful passage to Natasha Richardson. The genuine care and grief he felt after her passing jumps out of the page. As someone who is a fan of Liam Neeson, I was glued to the TV when it happened, and her death still leaves me feeling a dull ache in my chest. It was heartbreaking to hear the news. (For those who did not know Natasha Richardson, she was a fantastic British actress, a legacy of her theatrical and actoral family.)
The final note by Rima, his wife, broke my heart a little. It was simple, but the love shone through. She doesn’t give much of herself away when writing about Alan, but she does narrate his final days in the hospital. She wrote about his funeral; he practically directed the whole bloody thing from beyond the grave. And, he got a final standing ovation at London’s Actors Church, Covent Garden. 2020, London. I walked by the place in Covent Garden, and I briefly did think of him. I really couldn’t bring myself to visit. A part of me likes to think he’s still alive somewhere. I can’t even bring myself to watch A Promise (2013) even though its free on Tubi.
Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman. Henry Holt & Co., 18 October 2022.
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