I was first introduced to Alan Rickman when I watched 1995's "Sense and Sensibility." Rickman brought a raw sweetness to OG Nice Guy Colonel Brandon, and though his character pursues a romantic relationship with Kate Winslet's Marianne Dashwood, he develops a mutual admiration and respect with Emma Thompson's Eleanor Dashwood.
That admiration and respect carried through to the pair's personal and professional relationship over the next 20 years, and when I woke up to the news of Rickman's death on Thursday, the first person I thought about was Thompson.
Since co-starring in "Sense and Sensibility" -- for which Thompson also wrote the screenplay -- the pair worked together on "The Winter Guest" (1997), "Judas Kiss" (1998), "Love Actually" (2003), "Harry Potter" (2004, 2007, 2011), and "The Song Of Lunch" (2010). Theirs was a public-facing example of a beautiful long-term friendship.
Though we can only know Thompson and Rickman's friendship through the interviews they gave, their frequent professional collaboration inextricably links them in my mind. Thompson and Rickman have played friends, lovers and colleagues, all while maintaining an obvious affection for one another's talent.
And it seems I'm not alone in pairing the two. A quick YouTube search turns up mashup tribute videos of Rickman and Thompson made by fans, an honor most often reserved for IRL couples or pairs that have been 'shipped in megawatt teen franchises.
Though we have many models of male-female romantic connections (see: pretty much every rom-com ever, dating shows, red carpet couple roundups), we see strong, respectful male-female friendships publicly modeled on and off-screen far less. Thompson and Rickman never dated, but their platonic love seemed to run deep.
On Thursday, Thompson released a heart-wrenching statement saying goodbye to her longtime friend and collaborator, calling him "the ultimate ally":
Alan was my friend and so this is hard to write because I have just kissed him goodbye. What I remember most in this moment of painful leave-taking is his humor, intelligence, wisdom and kindness. His capacity to fell you with a look or lift you with a word. The intransigence which made him the great artist he was -- his ineffable and cynical wit, the clarity with which he saw most things, including me, and the fact that he never spared me the view. I learned a lot from him. He was the finest of actors and directors. I couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do with his face next. I consider myself hugely privileged to have worked with him so many times and to have been directed by him. He was the ultimate ally. In life, art and politics. I trusted him absolutely. He was, above all things, a rare and unique human being and we shall not see his like again.
Thanks for your wit, wisdom, feminism and talent, Alan Rickman. You'll be with us, always.
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