Harris Says Netflix’s “Lemony Snicket” Is Very Dark

Brad Silberling’s 2004 film adaptation of “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” books got a little dark for a family fantasy film, but still kept things fairly broad.

That won’t be the case with Netflix’s upcoming TV series adaptation which appears to be fitting more in line with Daniel Handler’s novels and will go to darker and more eccentric places.

The series follows Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents perish in a tragic and mysterious house fire, leaving the children in the custody of Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) who will stop at nothing to steal the Baudelaire fortune.

Speaking with Collider about it this week, Harris talked about the show’s faithfulness to the source material:

“I think it’s super faithful to the books. I think at times it’s shockingly dark. From what I gathered, Netflix was concerned that adults weren’t going to be able to value it because it was skewing towards a younger demographic. And I think now that it’s done, they want to make sure the kids still value it and it’s not gone too Stranger Things. I really wanted Olaf to be bad. To be a bad person.

I tried to just focus as much as I could on being as literary possible and try to honor how Olaf was described by Lemony [Snicket] and by Daniel Handler. So, a lot of piercing darkness and sort of delusional dementia. He thinks he’s so handsome and he thinks he’s incredibly charming and gifted as an actor, and yet he’s not. So I didn’t want to be overly charming, I wanted to be just awful. Distinctly mean. And then let the levity of the situation inform the takeaway for the viewer. I didn’t want to make him like myself.”

Netflix is reportedly planning three seasons of around eight episodes each, with all thirteen books being adapted across the space of two episodes each. Handler and Barry Sonnenfeld executive produce the series which also stars Patrick Warburton and Joan Cusack.