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Alan Rickman Interview Transcript from the Sweeney Todd Press Junket!

This is from the IMDB here http://imdb.com/title/tt0408236/board/nest/90843574?d=90843817#90843817 Thank you to the person who donated it and the person who shared it. :-)





QUESTION: WAS THE THOUGHT OF
SINGING INTERESTING TO YOU? WAS THAT WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE PROJECT?

RICKMAN: Well, it was one of them. I
suppose that it's in this life it's looking for the next high wire. So that was
definitely one of them and then you just have to find out on a practical level
if you can hit those notes. Some of them were a bit high. Then you've got to
quickly find a singing teacher and work. So that was definitely an attraction.

 


QUESTION: HOW LONG DID
YOU WORK WITH A COACH BEFOREHAND?

RICKMAN: I don't really remember. A while,
maybe a month or so.


QUESTION: DO YOU ENJOY
BEING THE REALLY BAD GUY OR DOES IT DEPRESS YOU IN A WAY?


RICKMAN: In this film? Well,
who's bad or who's good, I don't judge the characters at all. I don't label
them. And the bad guy never depresses me at all.

 


QUESTION: IS IT MORE FUN
TO PLAY THE BAD GUY?

RICKMAN: Well, weirdly, I play it so
rarely. I don't play it very often. It's just like maybe three times with big
publicity budgets. But if you actually look at the work there's an awful lot of
work there with no money for publicity and that. So if you look at it from that
end of it, that end of the telescope and I'm looking down the other end of it.
Indeed I have two other films coming out this year that are very different, but
to me doing 'Sweeney Todd' was like, 'Whoa, this will be interesting.'

 


QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT
MOVIES?

RICKMAN: One is
at Sundance in January called 'Bottle Shock' and one opens in America in March
called 'Nobel Son'.

 


QUESTION: WHAT SORTS OF
CHARACTERS ARE THOSE?
RICKMAN:
In
'Bottle Shock' I play somebody who's actually still alive. He's called Steven
Spurrier and he's a wine expert and the film is about the true story of a 1976
blind wine tasting in Paris when the American wines beat the French with an all
French jury. That's the story of it and we shot it in Sonoma which is where I've
just come from.

 


QUESTION: SO THE ONLY
EVIL PERSON IN THAT WOULD BE THE FRENCH?

RICKMAN: [laughs] I don't know. I think they're
still cross. And the other one is an American winner of the Nobel Prize for
Chemistry. My son kidnaps me in order to hold me to ransom to get the money from
Sweden.

 


QUESTION: IS THAT BASED
ON A TRUE STORY?

RICKMAN: No.

 


QUESTION: WHAT'S IT LIKE
WORKING ON A TIM BURTON SET WITH JOHNNY DEPP WHO'VE DONE SO MUCH TOGETHER?

RICKMAN:
No sense of your invading
private territory. It's completely shared and open and you all work on this
piece of work together, particularly with Johnny because he's very much a team
player. You've just got problems to solve. So the vision and the imagination and
the drive and the energy which is one thing. You're like a sponge as an actor.
You just pick up what's wanted, what the tone is you're aiming for. Then there
are practical problems. If you've got to sing and you're shaved it's not going
to help if you've got foam right over your mouth. The next time you see the
film, if you see it again, you'll see that just as he puts that stuff around my
mouth I go like that so that when I open my mouth there's nothing on the lips.
But it took a while to figure out how we were going to get around this. I'd be
spitting it all the time.

 


QUESTION: IT LOOKED
FANTASTIC. WAS IT ALL SHOT INSIDE?
RICKMAN:
Indoors. All of Fleet Street was indoors,
yeah.

 


QUESTION: WHAT WAS THE
SET LIKE?
RICKMAN:
I'm very connected to
The Royal Academy where I trained and I rang them up and said, 'You've got to
get the technical students down here to have a look at this. They won't see this
again.' It was unbelievable craftsmanship and womenship on that set. It was
amazing. Because of the bleaching out process you don't see so much of the
detail that we saw and the clothes and everything. I mean, it's right that he
did that so that you get that kind of dark sense of the world, but the actual
detail of a sign over a door or what's going on in a shop window was phenomenal.
It's just like food for your imagination which is what Tim said.

 


QUESTION: DID YOU RECORD
YOUR SONGS WITH JOHNNY IN THE STUDIO TOGETHER OR SEPARATELY?
RICKMAN:
Separately because they've got to have
control, especially in a duet where they want to turn one up and one down. So
it's a little odd to do that. The first time that we sang it together was miming
it together [laughs]. But I could see why. All I did was say, 'Please could I go
second so that I can hear him.' I know that he would have the lighter voice and
he drives it so I needed to know what train I was jumping on. That sort of
thing.

 


QUESTION: AS AN ACTOR
GIVING A VOCAL PERFORMANCE, DO YOU CONSIDER IT ACTUALLY SINGING OR IS IT SORT OF
AN EXTENSION OF THE ROLE THAT YOUR PLAYING, PART OF THE CHARACTER?
RICKMAN:
That. But of course at the same time you
don't want to flat or sharp or any of those awful things. So you've got to be
singing too.

 


QUESTION: HAVE YOU SEEN
A PRODUCTION OF 'SWEENEY TODD' BEFORE?
RICKMAN:
One, two years ago in New York. It was
the one where they all played musical instruments as the orchestra which was
brilliant, but totally different of course.

 


QUESTION: SO THAT HAD NO
BEARING ON WHAT YOU WERE DOING WITH THIS.
RICKMAN:
None.

 


QUESTION: HOW DID YOUR
WORK SCHEDULE PLAY INTO THE NEXT 'HARRY POTTER' FILM? DID YOU GO FROM ONE TO THE
OTHER OR DID THEY OVERLAP AT ALL? I KNOW THAT IN 'HALF-BLOOD PRINCE' THERE'S A
LOT OF SNAPE AND SO I WOULD IMAGINE THERE'S A LOT FOR YOU TO DO IN THAT FILM?

RICKMAN:
Yeah, but they still have to
get inside a certain period of time. I do seven weeks. I can't even remember
when we shot the last one so I think – we shot 'Sweeney Todd' this year – it was
over a year ago that I did 'Order of the Phoenix'.

 


QUESTION: SO YOU HAVEN'T
STARTED ON THE NEXT ONE?
RICKMAN:

They're doing it already. I start at the end of January.

 


QUESTION: HAD YOU SUNG
BEFORE?
RICKMAN:
Well, yes, in the sense
that you come out of drama school and you're in 'Guys and Dolls' and God knows
what in regional theater. Then when I did 'Private Lives' in London and on
Broadway I sang a little. Well, Lindsay Duncan and I sang one Noel Coward song
onstage, but it was so much part of the action that it wasn't like, 'And now
we're going to sing.' So it's not quite the same as this, but yeah, I had a
little bit before.

 


QUESTION: DO YOU ENJOY
SINGING?
RICKMAN:
I do. I'm only
thinking about that because since the movie I kept up the singing lessons
because it helps an enormous amount with speaking, one discovers. I have an
incredibly sarcastic singing teacher and so when I say I enjoy it, he's so rude
that it's sort of masochism. But I know something is happening that's making
speaking better and breathing because it's just basically reminding me to
breathe. Sometimes you forget to do that. It's great to find a discipline and
work it.

 


QUESTION: IS IT POSSIBLE
THAT SOMEONE COULD CONVINCE YOU TO GO ONSTAGE AND DO IT?
RICKMAN:
Yeah, anything is possible. It just would
have to depend on how high the notes are. That's what we're working on now,
pulling that range up a bit.

 


QUESTION: ARE YOU A FAN
OF THE BARBER CHAIR YOURSELF? IT LOOKS VERY SCARY. HAVE YOU HAD A REAL LIFE
SHAVE?
RICKMAN:
Once or twice, in one's
life. I'm like most men. One's a bad shaver in the morning because you've only
got three minutes to get out the door. So it's not a great skill.

 


QUESTION: A BIT OF
BLOOD?
RICKMAN:
Some blood. Then of
course you've got three minutes to get out the door and now you have a piece of
tissue paper stuck to you. It's the usual chaotic scene, I'm afraid.

 


QUESTION: WILL 'HARRY
POTTER' BE AFFECTED BY THE SAG STRIKE AT ALL?
RICKMAN:
No. It's written already, something like
that.

 


QUESTION: THAT'LL COVER
THE WRITER'S GUILD.
RICKMAN:
Well, if
the actor's come out then we'll be out, I suppose.

 


QUESTION: DON'T THEY
USUALLY TAKE ABOUT NINE MONTHS TO FINISH THOSE FILMS?
RICKMAN:
Watch the space, literally.

 


QUESTION: WITHOUT ANY
SPOILERS THIS FILM DOES HAVE SOME SNAPES' BIG MOMENT.
RICKMAN:
Well that's a spoiler, isn't it.

 


QUESTION: ARE YOU
LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT WITHOUT SAYING WHAT IT IS?
RICKMAN:
Well, the only thing that I'll say is
that for the first time shooting those films I know what I'm doing and why.

 


QUESTION: HAVE YOU READ
AHEAD?
RICKMAN:
That's what I mean by
that.

 


QUESTION: YOU'VE READ
THE SEVENTH BOOK?
RICKMAN:
That's what I
mean by that [laughs].

 


QUESTION: AS THE END OF
THOSE THINGS DO YOU REGARD THAT WITH EITHER RELIEF OR SADNESS?
RICKMAN:
It's a unique experience. I mean, where
else is film history going to watch three kids grow up and the films actually
growing up with them.

 


QUESTION: ARE YOU PROUD
OF YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO THAT?
RICKMAN:
I
do the best that I can [laughs]. I'm very proud to be involved in it and part of
world history.

 


QUESTION: ARE YOU
COMFORTABLE WITH THE SEX SYMBOL STATUS THAT'S COME ALONG WITH THAT BECAUSE
THERE'VE BEEN BLOG GROUPS OF WOMEN TALKING ABOUT YOU IN THAT SENSE?
RICKMAN:
The world is weird. This is the thing.
This is why 'Sweeney Todd' has only ever been relevant because there are
apparently – I haven't looked – websites now where grown, mostly women, write
porn and putting those characters together. So, 'Sweeney Todd' is a smallfry to
the idea of that going on and this isn't even being done covertly. They have
conventions and things.

 


QUESTION: HAVE YOU HAD
ANY STRANGE ENCOUNTERS WITH THOSE FANS OR NOT?
RICKMAN:
I think that every actor has.

 


QUESTION: CAN YOU TALK
ABOUT IT OR NOT?
RICKMAN:
No. I don't
want to encourage it.

 


QUESTION: YOU DIRECTED
SOME STAGE WORK. I SEE THAT YOU DID 'MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE'. DID THAT HAVE
THE SAME SORT OF CONTROVERSY HERE AS IT DID IN THE U.S. WHEN THEY TRIED TO MOUNT
IT?
RICKMAN:
Well, we did it here first
and because it was such a success here the New York production was important
that it happened especially because, of course, she was American and it's part
of the current American history. So it was very important that it go there. The
controversy was the same everywhere. There were always people standing outside
the theater handing out leaflets. Fair enough. Everybody can have their point of
view, but it usually drifted away eventually when people actually bothered to
read it or come and see it rather than making assumptions.

 


QUESTION: WOULD YOU LIKE
TO TAKE THAT FURTHER INTO MOVIES, OR DIRECTING IN GENERAL?
RICKMAN:
I did direct a movie which I'm very proud
of called 'The Winter Guest' and now I look with horror and find out that it was
ten years ago. How did that happen? Because you get caught up in movies and
making them and you're time gets eaten up.

 


QUESTION: AND DIRECTING
PLAYS DOESN'T FILL THE SAME SPACE?
RICKMAN:
Well, no, because you direct a movie and
that's a year or so of your life. Pre-production. Shooting the movie is a short
period of time. Before it and after it is what eats it up. But I do have plans
to direct again. It's just organizing your day.

 


QUESTION: DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT IT WOULD BE?

RICKMAN:
I do, yeah. One completely
original script called 'A Little Chaos' which is about the building of a
fountain at the court of Louis the XIIII in Versailles. Then another one I don't
think I can talk about because I haven't had the meeting in New York yet, but
that's happening next week while we do the premiere.

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