Alan Rickman's journal recounts decision to stay in Harry Potter movies despite desire to quit

Excerpts from Alan Rickman's journal offer an intimate glimpse into the late actor's life and career, including his decades-long role in the Harry Potter franchise.

The diary entries, which span 25 years of Rickman's life, will be published as a book, Madly, Deeply: The Diaries of Alan Rickman, out Oct. 4. In excerpts published in The Guardian, Rickman shared entries about his desire to exit Harry Potter as the anguished wizard and professor Severus Snape in 2002, one month after the release of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

"Talking to [agent] Paul Lyon-Maris about HP exit, which he thinks will happen," Rickman wrote in an entry dated Dec. 4, 2002. "But here we are in the project-collision area again. Reiterating no more HP. They don't want to hear it." The decision to remain in the franchise came in 2006, not too long after Rickman was released from the hospital, where he received treatment for prostate cancer.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

Desiree Navarro/WireImage Alan Rickman

Rickman's doctors determined that the best option would be to remove his prostate, an operation that occurred at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. In an entry dated Jan. 30, 2006 following the surgery, Rickman wrote, "Finally, yes to HP 5. The sensation is neither up nor down. The argument that wins is the one that says: 'See it through. It's your story.' "

The actor also recorded his thoughts about Snape's death, noting that he had always known about his character's unrequited love for Harry's mother, Lily Potter. "I have finished reading the last Harry Potter book," he wrote in a July 2007 entry. "Snape dies heroically, Potter describes him to his children as one of the bravest men he ever knew and calls his son Albus Severus."


Murray Close/Warner Bros. Alan Rickman, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, and Daniel Radcliffe in 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban'

"This was a genuine rite of passage," the entry continued. "One small piece of information from Jo Rowling seven years ago – Snape loved Lily – gave me a cliff edge to hang on to."

EW previously reported that publishing house Canongate would release the book, set to feature stories from the sets of some of Rickman's biggest films and stage productions. The actor died from pancreatic cancer in 2016. He was 69. "I'm delighted that Canongate will be publishing Alan's diaries, and couldn't have wished for a finer appointment of editor than Alan Taylor," Rickman's widow, Rima Horton, said in a statement at the time.

Horton added, "The diaries reveal not just Alan Rickman the actor, but the real Alan – his sense of humor, his sharp observation, his craftsmanship and his devotion to the arts."

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