Tucci also called Rickman, who died on Thursday, “most importantly, behind his wry imperiousness, one of the kindest people and one of the most generous friends I have had the great fortune to know”.
Tucci played the flamboyant Duke of Orléans in last year’s period romance A Little Chaos, in which Rickman also featured as Louis XIV. But the pair had been friends since 2010, after meeting in a New York bar when both were directing plays on Broadway.
“After that night we seemed effortlessly to become part of each other’s lives,” Tucci told the Guardian. “I had begun to work a lot in London and would see him and Rima [Horton, Rickman’s partner] whenever I could. We went to the theatre together and shared many, many wonderful meals, as good food and drink were a common passion.”
Tucci remembered the couple coming to stay with him and his family in America; Rickman’s “imminent arrival throwing my three children into paroxysms of excitement and fear as Harry Potter was basically the only thing on their minds in those days.
“My youngest, who about nine at the time, had invited her best friend to sleep over and their anticipation of meeting Severus Snape was nothing short of hysterical. When he finally did arrive he greeted them as graciously as he greeted everyone and then bent slightly at the waist so that he was just on the cusp of looming over them, lowered his eyelids slightly and asked them in that distinctive and profoundly sonorous voice: ‘Are you Harry Potter fans?’ Needless to say we almost had to take the poor things to the hospital.”
“How happy my family and I are to have had him in our lives for even a short period of time,” said Tucci. “My heart aches with loss.”
This article was written by Catherine Shoard, for theguardian.com on Friday 15th January 2016 17.47 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010