Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series has been in the works for seemingly forever, with only a few glimpses of what it might include (and those have largely turned out to be created by people unassociated with the project.) It existed in a state of perpetual limbo, with everyone knowing that it was coming eventually but no progress seeming to be made. The melancholy surrounding the show may be lifting, however, as an announcement has finally been made regarding casting. Amid the doom and gloom that surrounds the Baudelaire children, a beam of light has finally appeared in the form of Neil Patrick Harris.
Unfortunately for the Baudelaires, Harris will be playing the villainous Count Olaf who famously took them in merely to find a way to get to their inheritance. This role was previously played to comical extremes by Jim Carrey in 2004’s A Series of Unfortunate Events film, directed by Brad Silberling. Silberling is expected to return as a director for the series as well, which is being produced by Paramount Television and Netflix with Daniel Handler (the author who wrote the series under the pen name Lemony Snicket) executive producing.
According to THR, this casting comes at the same time as the news that showrunner Mark Hudis was exiting his role in the series. No new showrunner has been announced as yet, and neither Paramount Television nor Netflix have commented on Hudris’ departure. It can be assumed that the companies still have time to find a replacement before the series starts shooting, as there are still a number of cast slots to fill (including the Baudelaire children) and Harris is slated to begin filming on a project called Downsizing with Matt Damon and Jason Sudeikis in the spring.
It’s been over a year since A Series of Unfortunate Events was announced as a Netflix project, and if fans have waited this long, they can probably wait a little longer. The casting of Harris is good news, since he not only stole the show as the over-the-top Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother but also more recently showed his more sinister side in American Horror Story: Freak Show. The departure of Hudris may worry some fans, but it’s possible that the drawn-out development of the series started interfering with other projects and he simply had to back out. There will likely be an announcement soon of a new showrunner, or at least more indications that casting and development are continuing in Hudris’ absence.
Once a new showrunner is in place, though, Netflix and Paramount need to start making major strides forward on the highly-anticipated project. Harris’ casting is one of the first major pieces of news to come out of it since November 2014, and even the most patient fans will start losing interest in the show if it fades into the background too many more times. A Series of Unfortunate Events could be another big original series for Netflix, but that will only happen if it actually makes it to filming.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is being co-produced by Paramount Television and Netflix as a Netflix Original. No premiere date for the 13-episode first season has been announced, though we’ll update you as soon as more information is available.