movieThemes: Alan Rickman
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The dastardly Sheriff of NottinghamSUCCESS

Die Hard opened the doors for Alan Rickman, and the offers flooded in. However, his refusal to be pigeonholed as a villain as led to a rich but checkered film career... His next film, January Man (1989) reads like it should have been a success - it had big name actors like Kevin Kline, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Harvey Keitel. Rickman played a small role as Kline's sidekick, but the film was a disappointment.

Quigley Down Under (1990), starring the popular actor, Tom Selleck also sounded should have been a success, and did achieve mediocre popularity, but it was essentially a poorly written spaghetti western transferred to the Australian outback. Rickman was the nasty station owner who hired Quigley to wipe out the local aboriginal population.

The run of mediocre films ended in 1991. Rickman appeared in four films that year. Closet Land, a psychological thriller starring only Rickman and Madelaine Stowe was the only film that was not overtly successful. Truly, Madly, Deeply was billed as Britain's answer to Ghost, and Rickman played Jamie, a dead lover who returns to his grieving sweetheart (Juliet Stevenson). He won a couple of awards for this role. Close My Eyes was written with Alan Rickman in mind as the cuckolded husband, Sinclair Bryant. Although the subject matter offended some viewers in this film, Rickman delivers a supernova performance that gives an enchanting feel to the entire film.

But 1991 was to be the year as The Sheriff of Nottingham... The hype was huge before Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was even released, Rumors abounded about Kevin Costner being upstaged by Rickman and ordering many of Rickman's scenes to be slashed from the resultant movie. Rickman was philosophical about it, expressing a few regrets to Entertainment Weekly, in particular he comments, "Unhappily, the scene in which Geraldine tells me she's my mother, with the two of us sailing way over the top into another stratosphere and the crew howling with laughter, ended up on the cutting-room floor," he says. "That was a shame." And it was he who suggested the hilarious and memorable scene for spreading Maid Marion's legs as he tries to consummate their hasty marriage... He was nominated for several awards as a result of playing The Sheriff of Nottingham, and won a British Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

After such a successful year, Rickman was cast as the lead character in Mesmer (1993), but the film was never released to a mass audience as the backers felt the film was not what they had provided money for and promptly sued. Eventually, the film was released on video in North America only.

A period of 'quietness' followed with Rickman only appearing in Bob Roberts (1992) with Tim Robbins and An Awfully Big Adventure (1995) with Hugh Grant. Things began to improve in 1995 though, with the release of Sense and Sensibility, where he played the stiff Colonel Brandon.

Alan Rickman in his award-winning role of RasputinHis first starring role since Memser was in the critically acclaimed HBO television movie, Rasputin (1996). Rickman's inspired performance of the peasant-monk who is credited with the bringing down the Russian Empire, saw him win several awards.

After Rasputin, Rickman played supporting roles in Michael Collins (1996), Judas Kiss (1998) and directed, The Winter Guest, which he co-wrote (although he only claims minimal credit with the screenplay) with Sharman Macdonald. Unfortunately, Judas Kiss was never properly released and can be found only on video in North America.



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