This will be the last time I talk about Alan Rickman, I can almost promise.
I’ve been getting on fine, mostly. Some moments of sadness catch me off guard, but that’s what life is good at. Then I discovered a whole slew of new interviews on YouTube I hadn’t seen, promoting his last film A Little Chaos (his last film technically is going to be Eye in the Sky, but he directed Chaos so it was a bigger deal). I watched two before realizing it was a mistake, when they both ended with speculating optimistically about his next projects. These had to be only weeks before his death. That was too hard for me.
But there was one thing to look forward to: lengthy articles or even an entire magazine issue in tribute to him. A detailed retrospective on his career, if not his life. Leonard Nimoy got one. Bowie got several (and counting; just saw a new one this weekend). One last big Rickman hurrah. That would be a comfort that I eagerly anticipated.
So I was confused when I saw online that Entertainment Weekly, which I’ve been subscribing to for years, put the new OJ Simpson show on the cover. Seriously? A tired retread of a phenomenon that I was sick to death of when it originally happened, and even less interested in 30 years later? I might understand if it was Star Wars, but it wasn’t. Surely it could have waited another week to give Alan some room?
The problem is my subscription is expiring soon, so I didn’t think anything of it when I didn’t actually receive the issue. “Good,” I thought viciously, “perfect time to cancel.” (This was after sending off another scathing letter to the editor about their appalling oversight (they must have quite the file on me by now).)
I gave it until the following week, when the cover featured an even less relevant story, to let the unbelievable idea set in that they really truly weren’t going to do anything for him. When I searched on eBay, all that came up was a handful of British papers with the headline and the OJ issue. There really wasn’t going to be any fucking thing else written about him.
Tery predicted this, but she has a long history of joking that no one else cares about him. But she was right, and man, did that hurt.
Don’t get me wrong, all my life I’ve been drawn to fairly obscure actors for inscrutable reasons. I don’t expect more than one or two Google hits when Jonathan Pryce dies (I’m very, very worried about him). But I thought Alan was a lot bigger than that.
Take Leonard Nimoy, the first of my weird fixations (as opposed to, say, Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt — “heartthrobs,” blech). I was thrilled when EW put out a special issue just for him upon his death, full of stories about his life before and after Trek, and ultra rare photos. It was perfect. But the man only had one role (which he played well and I loved him in it, but it was still just one role) and they managed to cobble that together. I felt surely Alan deserved at least as much.
The closest actor I can think to compare him to is Nicolas Cage (who coincidentally I also had quite a thing for once). He’s had a long career, a few great movies, a lot of mediocre ones. But everyone knows who he is. Imagine when he dies not seeing his face on the cover of any magazines. That’s how I feel.
My friend D thinks Alan’s not as big over here because he’s British. You know who else is British? David Bowie. And it’s not as if Alan’s been lying low, he was in a pretty big deal of a film franchise about a very popular boy wizard, i.e. still busy for an actor in his 60’s.
So when I realized nothing else was forthcoming (because everyone who isn’t me won’t care about a moving tribute a month after his passing), I begrudgingly bought the OJ issue off eBay. It arrived today, along with the issue after OJ — which means my subscription isn’t quite up yet, which means they forgot to send me the issue with Alan. It’s almost like they’re making it personal.
I looked for the article. I turned page after page after page after page (it’s Oscar season! Which means twice the crap to schlep through), until I found it nearly at the back. A page and a half talking about how great he was in Die Hard, followed by the most rudimentary recital of the highlights of his IMDb page in paragraph form. Nothing about his death, nothing about his life, nothing about his childhood, his schooling, his political causes, his family. The remainder of the second page was taken up by movie stills from his best known films, probably the first Google Images hit for each. Nothing personal, no rare footage. You really went all out, didn’t you, EW? Why not just publish a link to his Wiki page and save all that ink?
To be fair, Alan was pretty private; not one for swanning about in the public eye. But to be even more fair, even the Facebook fan page I follow found an online album of him as a wee lad in his school repertory theater. You have to Google a little harder, EW.
But you know who ELSE has a dedicated tribute issue besides Bowie? John Wayne. Dead 36 years. TOTALLY relevant. VERY timely. Available on newsstands now! So I guess I have to wait 36 years for something on Alan?
Is this growing old? Watching the world move on from your interests and embrace increasingly dumb things like Kardashians and the Trial of Last Century? (Is the show going to reveal some shocking bit of missed evidence? Or just be a replay of what, in my memory, was an interminable media circus relieved only by one exciting moment involving a glove? Can you tell I really hate this thing already?) If so, I guess I’m officially a grumpy old woman (to be fair, the only new addition to that phrase is “old”).
I’m done, Entertainment Weekly. DONE. Except I just noticed next week you’ve got a Walking Dead spread with a special Norman Reedus cover…