Jk Rowling has revealed part of what she told actor Alan Rickman about the character of Severus Snape, which helped him better understand his Harry Potter role. Rickman, who passed away last week aged 69, played Snape in all eight of the Harry Potter movies, ending with 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.

Alan RickmanJK Rowling has spoken about the ‘little piece of information’ she revealed to Alan Rickman about Severus Snape.

In a 2011 interview, Rickman said that he had a phone conversation with Rowling before taking the role, which helped him better understand Snape’s character and intentions. “Certainly, I did say I needed to talk to (Rowling) before I could get a handle on how to play it, and we did have a phone conversation,” Rickman said.

“She certainly didn’t tell me what the end of the story was going to be in any way at all, so I was having to buy the books along with everybody else to find out, ‘And now what?’ No, she gave me one little piece of information, which I always said I would never share with anybody and never have, and never will.”

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“It wasn’t a plot point, or crucial in any tangible way, but it was crucial to me as a piece of information that made me travel down that road rather than that one or that one or that one,” the actor added.

Following Rickman’s passing a fan asked Rowling on twitter if she would reveal the piece of information she’d told the actor about Snape. ‘I told Alan what lies behind the word ‘always,'’ Rowling replied.

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Harry Potter producer David Yates also once recalled how amusingly difficult it could be on set sometimes, with Rickman knowing a secret that the rest of the team weren’t privy to. "It was quite amusing, too, because there were times when a director would tell Alan what to do in a scene and he would say something like, 'No I can't do that - I know what is going to happen and you don’t,'" Heyman told the LA Times.

"He had a real understanding of the character and now looking back, you can see there was always more going on there - a look, an expression, a sentiment - that hint at what is to come... the shadow that he casts in these films is a huge one and the emotion he conveys is immeasurable.”