The late Hollywood film star Alan Rickman was once thought to be the ideal man to play the character considered to be one of the most villainous in the history of Derry. The star died earlier today having suffered from cancer.
The 69-year-old British screen and stage actor shot to global fame in the late 1980s after playing another villan-Hans Gruber in ‘Die Hard’ and in the 1990s he played Eamonn De Valera in the film ‘Michael Collins’. Most recently of course he played Professor Snape one of the main characters in the Harry Potter series.
However, in the late 1990s the Apprentice Boys of Derry wanted the services of the actor to play the role of Colonel Robert Lundy a character reviled to this day in loyalist culture as it is believed that he was going to sell Derry out to the Catholic forces of King James II back in 1688. An effigy of the ‘traitor’ Lundy is of course still burned each year in December in Derry city centre.
When the Apprentice Boys pitched the notion of a feature film of the Siege of Derry to film producers, as reported in the Guardian newspaper in 1998, it was Rickman that they pinpointed as being ideal for the role-perhaps based on his super-villianous performance as a the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham in ‘Robin Hood Prince od Thieves’. Another Hollywood legend, Gene Hackman was favoured to play the hero of the Siege of Derry, the Reverend Walker.
However, the film was never made.
The Guardian also quoted one Bogsider who was apparently overheard saying: ‘They’re asking us to celebrate the Siege as if it were Rorke’s Drift. They are forgetting we are the Zulu’s.’