Never has black comedy worked so well in recent children’s literature than Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. So popular were the books that a feature film was released back in 2004 under the same name, and starring Jim Carrey as the villainous Count Olaf. The movie did reasonably well commercially and critically, but not enough for the studio to green light a sequel.
Those left disappointed by the lack of a cinematic continuation of the story were no doubt pleased when, in 2014, Netflix announced it was a producing a series with Paramount TV. So excited by the news, one fan couldn’t wait and produced a professional-looking teaser for the series that almost fooled the Internet. While there have been some behind-the-scenes troubles, with executive producer Mark Hudis (True Blood) leaving the showrunner position before production began, there have been positive notes as well, like the announcement that Neil Patrick Harris was in talks to star as Count Olaf.
Now, Deadline reports the latest development is that Harris has closed the deal for the role and filming is expected to start this month in Vancouver. Joining him will be Patrick Warburton (Family Guy, Tick) who will be narrating as Lemony Snicket — a role previously held by Jude Law in the feature film. The eight-episode series will also star Malina Weissman (TMNT) and Louis Hynes as Violet and Klaus Baudelaire who, along with their other sibling Sunny, are tragically orphaned after their parents die in a suspicious fire. Adopted first by their ‘distant’ and dastardly relative Count Olaf, the three siblings spend 13 novels moving from one guardian to the next. Meanwhile the villainous Olaf attempts time and again to steal their family fortune — pursuing them across the anachronistic universe.
This series has been a long time coming, and so it’s great to see it finally get going on the production side of things, despite the long wait and Hudis’ departure. Harris’ exuberant and impulsive comedic style — as observed as Barney in How I Met Your Mother — makes it seem as though he will be a unique fit for the character of Olaf, and it will be interesting to see whether or not he will portray the character along the lines of Jim Carrey’s eccentric take on the villain.
The real surprise, though, is Warburton as Snicket, as this is the man who voices Joe Swanson after all. After Jude Law’s gentlemanly writer approach in the movie, it’ll be quite the change of pace to hear Warburton’ take on the fictitious author. As for the length, eight episodes does seem rather short, though fans will have to wait and see whether or not the series aims to adapt a book a season or if there are plans to alter the order of the books in any way. Now that production on the series is set to begin, it won’t be long before those questions are answered.
Screen Rant will have more information regarding A Series of Unfortunate Events as it is made available.