March 23, 2013 7:39 pm

This Sunday: The Conclusion of “A Conversation with Alan Rickman”

Neil deGrasse Tyson interviews Alan Rickman on StarTalk Radio

One of the themes that emerged from this Sunday’s podcast, A Conversation with Alan Rickman (Part 2), is Alan’s deep-seated respect for his audience. Neil asks Alan if there is any science fiction character he’d like to play, and in his answer, Alan says that one of his criteria for choosing a role is that it has to be well-written and not insulting to the audience. He talks about his responsibility to that audience in a voice that is at the same time filled with responsibility, gratitude and humility.

If you’re an Alan Rickman fan, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. He puts everything he’s got into every role, whether he’s playing Die Hard’s Hans Gruber or the ghost of a dead lover in Truly Madly Deeply or Galaxy Quest’s frustrated Shakespearean actor who finally means his catch-phrase, “By Grabthar’s Hammer… by the suns of Warvan…you shall be… avenged!” as he utters it over the dying body of Quellek. And of all the wonderful actors who made their characters their own in the Harry Potter series, did anybody do a better job than Alan Rickman did as Professor Severus Snape? Could you imagine anyone else saying, “You have your mother’s eyes…” any more poignantly?

In a world where so many actors, and so many movies, so many shows on TV and radio, take their audiences for granted and insult their intelligence, this responsibility to and respect for an audience is laudable.

We share that respect for, and responsibility to, the intelligence of our audience here on StarTalk. It would be trite and ridiculous to say that our show wouldn’t exist without our audience – what show can? – but it is true to say that your involvement with our show, through your comments, questions, feedback, here and on our social media channels, makes StarTalk Radio a different kind of show than any other out there.

In fact, our new stand-alone Cosmic Queries episodes owe their existence to you, since they are made up entirely of your questions, asked by our comic co-hosts and answered by your own personal astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

But before we started doing stand-alone Cosmic Queries episodes, we still turned to you for questions. Just before we recorded A Conversation with Alan Rickman, we asked you if there were any questions you would like Neil to ask Alan.

And one of you, Sharyl Madeloni, said this on Facebook:

Mr. Rickman loves roller coasters! “The bigger, faster, more dangerous the better.”

And because of Sharyl, when Neil sat down with Alan, one of the things they talked about was roller coasters. Neil explained their physics, and Alan talked about which ones are his favorites.

That wouldn’t have happened without you, Sharyl. Just like the incredible moment in the interview with GZA wouldn’t have happened without the deeply personal comment from Michael Rafales (It occurs at 23:45 in the video). Just like dozens of other awesome moments on the show and at StarTalk Live and in our Cosmic Queries wouldn’t happen without you, our audience.

A Conversation with Alan Rickman (Part 2), with guest astrophysicist Charles Liu and comic co-host Chuck Nice, will be available here on our website and iTunes this Sunday, March 24th, at 7:00pm ET.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!

–Jeffrey Simons

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