As we inch closer to the release of Netflix’s adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the trailers have left us wondering if this time we’ll actually get the Olaf we want. The book series is dark, and at times comical, but what has always stuck out to me is that Count Olaf is terrifying.
Not only does he conduct multiple schemes to take the children’s money, including creepily trying to marry the oldest child, Violet, but his character description has always been chilling. Jim Carrey starred as Count Olaf in the Nickelodeon adaptation of the first three books and it did not do well. Carrey produced an Olaf that was a silly and bubbly actor-type, which is not quite the book’s description of him. Olaf is more complicated than that.
When I heard that Neil Patrick Harris would be playing Count Olaf in the Netflix adaptation, I must admit, I was a little disappointed. I don’t see Harris as creepy at all, or even someone that could pull off creepy. He’s just too nice! When I imagine Count Olaf, I imagine a tall and skinny man with a pointy face, a deep voice, and piercing eyes. He’s comical, but not in a ha ha way. He’s more of a sinister funny. I don’t see Harris or Carrey.
Harris sat down with The Huffington Post recently and had this to say about his upcoming role:
I really wanted Olaf to be … bad. To be a bad person,” he said. “Otherwise I just don’t think it justifies [the Baudelaire children’s] constant fear of him…I tried to just focus as much as I could on being as literary as possible and to try to really honor the way 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 incredibly gifted as an actor, and yet he’s not, and so I didn’t want to be overly charming.
I was really just trying to be awful. Distinctly mean. And let the levity of the situation inform the takeaway for the viewer. I didn’t want to make him like myself. I didn’t want to add ? I think Jim added a lot of himself into the role, when I watched the movie version my takeaway was, I was watching Jim Carrey’s take on Olaf, and I really wanted to sort of lose myself within Olaf. So we’ll see how that goes.
I am definitely glad to hear that from Harris. Finally, we have an adaptation that will hopefully do justice to one of my favorite book series. I am still skeptical on how well it will be done, but I will reserve my judgment until January 13th!
Featured image courtesy of Screen Rant