Neil Patrick Harris is your new Count Olaf. The How I Met Your Mother star shifted gears for his latest TV project, A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the Lemony Snicket book series.
“I liked the perfect storm of it all. I’m a big fan of the idea of taking this 13-books series, one that I find very dark and almost Cirque du Soleil in the potential physicality of it and sort of owning that. I liked the creative freedom that Netflix allows with no commercial breaks and not a lot of corporate meddling,” Harris told E! News.
Plus, Harris cited the allure of working with director and executive producer Barry Sonnefeld, which would make the show “creatively, it would be a little left of center.”
While the book series is targeted towards kids, Netflix’s take on A Series of Unfortunate Events is for everyone.
“It’s the big four-quadrant show, so they want to appeal to more than one demographic, which is also inspiring for me because I didn’t want to have it just be something kids specific, I didn’t want to just spend all the time working on it and have it be this kids show,” Harris said. “At the same time I have kids, so I think it’s fun to be able to play both of those. And the prosthetics, that’s my jam.”
Jim Carrey brought the character of Count Olaf to life on the big screen in the 2004 flick, which Harris has seen, but he wanted to do things differently.
“Jim Carrey did such a great job, but as I was watching it I felt like I was watching Jim Carrey’s take on Count Olaf and I just really wanted to be Count Olaf as [writer Lemony Snicket/Daniel Handler] intended him to be,” Harris said.
He worked with producers on getting the look right, exploring contact lenses to nail Count Olaf perfectly. Once they settled on the look, Harris said he just went a “little crazy.”
“He’s this grand actor in his mind, so he has the freedom to…sing his lines if he wants to, or growl, or pause before he speaks. It felt very overly theatrical and I think that makes him a little more demonic. I was a little darker, and more evil,” he explained.
A Series of Unfortunate Events, which also stars Joan Cusack, Catherine O’Hara, Patrick Warburton, Alfre Woodard, Louis Hynes, Malina Weissman, is now streaming on Netflix.
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