We’ve always admired Dame Helen Mirren as an unofficial ambassador for the over-60s, and her recent words on the late, great Alan Rickman only strengthen that.
On an interview yesterday with NPR, she spoke of how age only brought the best qualities out of her dearly departed friend.
“You know, some actors, all of their potential is in their youth,” she said, “and when that passes, their qualities of as an actor pass”.
“But he – Alan was the opposite, and there are other actors who are like that… their potential is in maturity”.
Helen said her friend’s distinctive voice was something that could only have come with age, saying he could play it “like a sort of wonderful instrument, like a cello or something”.
“He played his voice, and he could be the most subtle of actors. And he could also be quite a big actor. He could do the grandiose performances as well”.
In an earlier interview, he once spoke of the criticism that voice used to get. “‘Alan, you sound as if your voice is coming out of the back end of a drainpipe’, was one review from my voice teacher”.
Helen said this only “shows the absolute charming wit that he had”.
“Again, I think his voice was probably something that he had to mature into”.
“And then there was a moment when the voice and the look and the extraordinary ability just all came together into a sort of perfect – perfectly pitched thing.
While some of Rickman’s most famous roles were as seedy, villainous characters, she reaffirmed what all his friends and fans have long known all along: he was the very gentlest of souls.
“You know, he played these very reserved, sometimes-cold, sometimes-threatening characters on the screen, but the reality of the man was incredible warmth and humour and generosity and wicked fun”.
What’s your favourite Alan Rickman memory?