When Neville visited Snape – The Legacy of Alan Rickman
While Snape remains a towering figure in the Potterverse, the world had to bid a sad farewell to actor Alan Rickman in 2016. Five years later, Matthew Lewis, the actor who played the lovable, bumbling Neville Longbottom, recalls his heart-warming experience working with Rickman on the latter’s last day on set. We’ve all seen the video of Daniel Radcliffe pouring out his heartfelt emotions on the last day of shooting, but it turns out there’s more that went unacknowledged, like Rickman’s last day on set, where he departed after touching the hearts of so many.
About his experience and work
Recalling his experience of working with the great actor on Michael Rosenbaum’s Inside of You podcast, Lewis claims that he had never been able to get chatty with Rickman, perhaps because his intimidating character of Snape seeped through between the reel and the real, or perhaps Rickman had built a legacy as the fearsome, no-nonsense Hans Gruber from Die Hard.
On the flipside of Snape’s character merging into Rickman, the same can be said of Neville’s metamorphosis to the shy, awkward behaviour of Matthew Lewis around Rickman throughout the years of shooting – truly a dismissal of the popular saying that goes ‘art imitates life.
On the last day of his shoot with the Harry Potter franchise, Lewis mustered his courage and decided to visit Rickman, congratulating him on his wonderful part in the franchise. On the podcast, he says that he decided to talk to Rickman in his trailer on the final day. Dispelling any notion of awkwardness, he went on to admit that he had always been quite frightful of the great actor, and in the past ten years, never been able to approach him out of fear of intimidation. However, Rickman proved to be the opposite of what his character in the Potterverse entailed him to play – he took Lewis by surprise when he invited him in for a cup of tea. He reported that they had an enriching conversation about his career prospects, regarding what his ambition was and what he wanted to end up doing.
This conversation proved to be quite beneficial for Lewis, for he has since played a role in the 2016 romantic drama ‘Me Before You and the 2020 historical drama series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’. Underneath his success as an actor, it is evident that he remains a humble and decent human being to this day.
Like the achingly beautiful scene of a tearful Snape clutching Lily Potter’s dead body to his heart, this story is bound to leave Potter fans and film lovers alike teary-eyed. Alan Rickman’s legacy truly lives on in the memory of millions of people, not just as a broody, greasy-haired Hogwarts teacher trying his best to come up with all sorts of ways to terrorise his students, but also as a gentle, exceedingly kind-hearted man that loved acting, and all the joys and sorrows that came with it.