Over the past 10 years, Alan Rickman has made his career playing Professor Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.  And for such a versatile actor, with famous roles in "Die Hard", "Robin Hood: Prince of Theives", "Dogma" and "Galaxy Quest", it is amazing to think he wasn't even the first choice for the role.  The part was originally offered to "Lie To Me" and "Reservoir Dogs" star Tim Roth, who turned down the role to appear as the main villain in Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" remake.

Rickman may not have been the original choice, but he sure made the role his own.  His performance was so important to the series that he was the only person who was given advance information on their character from author J.K. Rowling. Several films ago, Rickman was given new motivation for his character when Rowling let him in on something that wouldn't be revealed until the climax of the final book, SPOILER ALERT!, that Snape and Harry's mother Lily were childhood friends and Snape was in love with Lily.  It was Voldemort's killing of Lily that made Snape jump sides and work for Dumbledore.

Just finishing his final work as Severus Snape for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2", Rickman took some time to reflect and wrote a letter to British entertainment magazine "Empire Magazine".

For Empire Magazine

April 26, 2011

I have just returned from the dubbing studio where I spoke into a microphone as Severus Snape for absolutely the last time.  On the screen were some flashback shots of Daniel, Emma and Rupert from ten years ago.  They were 12.  I have also recently returned from New York, and while I was there, I saw Daniel singing and dancing (brilliantly) on Broadway.  A lifetime seems to have passed in minutes.

Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.

It is an ancient need to be told stories.  But the story needs a great storyteller.  Thanks for all of it, Jo.

Alan Rickman