Neil Patrick Harris dishes on playing Count Olaf in Netflix's 'Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events'
Multi-talented actor Neil Patrick Harris stopped by AOL's brand new BUILD Studio to discuss his latest role in Netflix's "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events." Harris stars as the vile guardian Count Olaf in the six and a half hour (8 parts - 2 per each book) episodic adaptation of the beloved children's book series. He takes care of the Baudelaire children -- Sunny, Violet, and Klaus after their parents tragically perish in a fire. As you progress through season 1 you will see many unfortunate events occur between the four main characters as well as the devious and downright absurd schemes Count Olaf attempts to do.
Harris went into further detail about some of the changes this iteration took and revealed a lot of fun facts about his character. While the Netflix version of the book series was mostly faithful to the plot lines, there was room to add new elements to the scenes in the show in order to not make it seem like a cheap exploited work.
"Yeah, we didn't want to make the book feel like some biblical tome or something we had to be ridiculously strict to. Daniel Handler who wrote the books under the pen name Lemony Snicket is one of the executive producers and so if we wanted to change anything we would clear it through him and he was very open to it. The show gets to be musical in a way that the books can't. In some ways, its operatic and there's a lot of musical underscore underneath things and I think that keeps the momentum alive in a way that you probably couldn't do in the books." as explained by Harris.
Even though the show's producers and writers made some new pathways in their vision for this version, what does remain true in the Netflix version is Count Olaf himself is still an evil character with crazy schemes. That hasn't changed from the books as Harris elaborated:
"I just got to be awful! At certain points be actually mean and awful. That was easy to just go in and be nefarious, horrible, and awful. At the same time, you had to be subtle within it because if you're just [an] over the top, operatic a--hole, then I think that becomes a little bit redundant. Thankfully in each book he reappears in disguise as someone completely different to try and achieve the same goal in a weird Wile E. Coyote kind of way. It was fun, the words were great, they're really fun words to speak, and the sense of humor is twisted and sort of dark and I liked that. It's a "four-quadrant project" which means they're shooting for the stars with a bunch of different demographics. We didn't make this content for kids and hope the parents would've suffer through it and Instagram while its happening. And yet we didn't make the project for the content to be for adults that the kids would not be able to watch because it was too mean or too scary, or too filled with cursing and stuff. I liked the dynamics of that so I didn't have to pander and play "I'm an angry man, kids", but at the same time I wasn't just horrible and kids then would not want to watch it."
When you watch 'Unfortunate', you will see the excellent work the cast and crew achieved in order to capture a wide audience while remaining balanced, fun, and enjoyable to watch at home or wherever you choose to stream it from.
You can already stream season 1 of 'Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events' exclusively on Netflix. Also check out the full BUILD Series interview in the video player above or by clicking here and finally be sure to follow Neil Patrick Harris on all of his socials: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.