The Immortal Dr. Lazarus
Cold, calm, calculating.
Few people can pull that off on a regular basis. Fewer still who can do that as an actor.
Hans Gruber, The Sherriff of Nottingham, Eliot Marston.
These villains are remembered not because they were evil in some way. It’s easy enough to make a villain evil, just have him or her or it kick the dog.
What makes these villains stand out so easily in the collective consciousness is the actor who played them.
These bad guys were so bad that you cheered when they died. These antagonists made what the hero accomplished that much more heroic because of just how much you ended up hating the bad guy. And these villains have become a standard by which this writer holds all villains.
It’s not enough to just have a ‘bad guy’ for your story.
There has to be a reason to hate him.
Hans Gruber was coldly logical, unfeeling, and extremely arrogant.
The Sherriff of Nothingham, while King Richard was away, decided he’d take the throne. After all, no one was there to stop him. And why shouldn’t he be king? It wasn’t about leading a country to him, it was about power.
Eliot Marston, though his parents were murdered, saw the local indigenous population of Australia as a nuisance, nothing more than flies. He was the epitome of arrogance.
Of course, these references are rather dated, thus dating the writer of this article.
No matter, Alan Rickman did more than just villain roles.
It’s a small wonder that he didn’t get Oscars for some of his more memorable parts.
Everyone will be quick to point out Severus Snape, the bullying Potions Master from Hogwarts. For six books he tortured Harry Potter. When they were made into films, Alan Rickman perfectly embodied who everyone thought Snape should look and act like. Maybe Rowling had him in mind when she wrote the character?
I won’t spoil the seventh book for those who have yet to read them. You’ll want to read and watch both as Alan Rickman gets his moment!
Yet, the one role that automatically jumps to the top of my mind when I hear the name Alan Rickman- Dr. Lazarus from Galaxy Quest.
He’s not the villain here, or even the bully to the protagonist. And yet, he’s still in a movie with one of my favorite villains, but we’ll talk about Sarris some other time.
The role of Dr. Lazarus is that he’s a Shakespearean actor who’s been typecast by this one role, and he *hates* it. Alan Rickman was awesome in that role!
It’s an obvious spoof of both Spock and Kirk, blending Rickman’s talents of both stage and screen, bringing a character to life who, well, hated his life. That sneering leer, the constant rolling of the eyes, the scratching at his makeup.
And every time someone says ‘that stupid line’ he can tell he’s about ready to snap.
It’s is somewhat ironic that the character’s name was Dr. Lazarus, as I will always remember Alan Rickman’s portrayal of him, as well as hold that as his best role.
Unfortunately, Alan Rickman passed away on January 14, 2016 after a battle with cancer.
This is my tribute to him…
By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be remembered…
Kyle Weckerly is a ghostwriter, content writer, and movie enthusiast. Stop by http://www.weckerlywriter.com/ to see if he’s a good match for your next writing project!