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Interview du "Baltimore du 11/12/07 :


Alan Rickman plays the Right Honorable Judge Turpin and is no stranger to dark, brooding and mysterious characters.

Alan Rickman: It was great to do the movie because I was working with great film makers and great actors and a great script with great music, so it was more than fun – it was a privilege.  

Fans of Alan Rickman will be looking forward to hearing and seeing him sing in the film, and we asked if there'd ever be a repeat performance of him singing in any other film or stage projects.

Alan Rickman: Well, let's wait and see if I'm asked.  Yeah…why not? You know, maybe it will inspire Mr. Sondheim to write something maybe specific for the movies.

For musical theatre, it's long been common practice to adapt exciting stories into musicals.  We asked Alan if there were any stories that he'd personally like to see made into musicals.

Alan Rickman: I can't think of one off hand because usually the whole problem with them on film is that they are so much of the theatre that it's very hard to move them but I thought what was wonderful about this is that it naturally moves to the screen because everything is so interior and it's about peoples' thought processes and about a very dark world, so it's not happy go lucky leg kicking choruses or anything; it's a movie that's not trying to be something else.

I asked if he'd ever seen the original Broadway or West End Productions of Sweeney Todd.

Alan Rickman: I didn't see Angela Lansbury do it originally but I saw it a couple years ago with Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris in New York where they were all playing musical instruments as well, and that was amazing, but it's like a completely different piece of work; I don't recognize what we've done as opposed to what they did.

Actors from the UK are working more and more in the US playing as are US actors in the UK.  As a British actor, famous in Hollywood, we asked Alan his view on this.

Alan Rickman: I think those barriers are all over the place these days.  I think it's very easy to try and make up some so-called trend truth about that, but I don't think any of that's true anymore.  You know have, in the last couple of years, three archetypal English characters: Bridget Jones, Jane Austen and Queen Elizabeth – you have them played by a couple of Americans and an Australian…and Sweeney Todd, of course.  But you have an American playing, of all people Jane Austen – so I think all of these things should be screwed up and thrown away and we should let English people and American people dive into the mix and if you can do it…do it.  What's happened is, we've got better at doing American accents and they've got much better at doing English accents, so it's all moving around now so you have people like Kate Winslet playing American parts as often as she plays English and visa-versa and Johnny Depp playing a lot of English roles.

The judge in Sweeney Todd is, to many, a loathsome character.  Another famous role by Rickman was the original role of the Vicomte De Valmont on stage.  We asked which role he considers to be more hateful.

Alan Rickman: Um maybe Sweeney Todd himself or maybe Mrs. Lovett.  It's not the way I look at it, I suppose.  I can't argue with the way you look at it but I'm looking down the other end of the telescope at, as you say, other work – so it's all part of…and also the last thing I do is say I'm playing somebody horrible! I'm jus playing this person.  Who is it? What do they want? What do they think? Where have they come from?

I asked how he thinks the movie will play to today's modern audiences.

Alan Rickman: As the jolly Christmas option.  [Rires] I honestly don't know, I mean one would hope that the world has not so, excuse me, f*cked that it can't go to see a movie that is dark and complex and takes them somewhere they don't know about.  If all people want to do is pay money, go to the movies and have all their pre-conceptions reaffirmed and come out of a movie, or a theatre, or a book, or a piece of music or anything else with everything still in place and with everything exactly the way it was when they went in then we all see the world, the art and the culture we deserve and we will blow ourselves up.

Alan Rickman is a big fan of the smaller movies trying to make it in the world.

Alan Rickman: Thank God for the little independent movies.  Unless it becomes part of general culture and it's made available…you know…if you live in New York or LA or London, you're living in luxury land when it comes down to choice but if you live in the backwards of the north of England it's a hundred miles to go see a movie.

On many peoples' mind at the time of this conference were the strikes – whether Broadway or Hollywood.  And also with a pending SAG strike in July, we asked for Alan's view on them.

Alan Rickman: I'm a solid union person and it's an honorable fight I think, so all I know is that there are no movies without scripts and there are no good movies without scripts and so the writers deserve…it's ludicrous how little respect they get and it's criminal what's going on and it's only about greed, so good luck to them really I think.

In London there are rumors that Harry Potter will be a musical.  As a member of the Harry Potter film cast, I asked Alan what he thought of this news.

Alan Rickman: Oh really? Who's shoving that one 'round? [Rires] Listen…you can go and find Harry Potter porn sites. I'm not kidding! And people are proud of it! It's a no go area, so anything's possible.  Harry Potter – The Musical, after Harry Potter – The Porn Site.   



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nick Hutson