Daniel Handler, who wrote the original books under the pen name Lemony Snicket, was originally slated to pen the script for the movie adaptation with Barry Sonnenfeld attached to direct.
But both men were eventually sidelined from the film and planned sequels never came to fruition.
A decade on, Netflix approached Handler about turning his books into a series, who immediately asked Sonnenfeld to come back to the fold.
Together, the two men have created a series that is visually and tonally different to the film.
Sonnenfeld told Indiewire: “We want it to be rebooted. We don’t want to do more of the same. We want it to feel and to look different — for everything about it to be different.”
Neil Patrick Harris was the first actor to be cast – taking over the role of Count Olaf from Jim Carrey – and gave the men a starting point for their vision.
A Series Of Unfortunate Events: Film v Netflix series
Thu, January 19, 2017
A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The 2004 film verses the new Netflix series.
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A Series Of Unfortunate Events: The 2004 film verses the new Netflix series
“Neil was much more in sync with our tone than Jim Carrey,” Sonnenfeld told the LA Times.
“Jim’s performance was wonderfully specific and Jim-like, but I think Neil’s performance is much closer to a theatrical — and flat, and funny and scary — way than I think we would have been able to get even if I had directed the Jim Carrey version.”
Three new child actors, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes and Presley Smith, took over as Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire – roles played by Emily Browning, Liam Aiken and Kara and Shelby Hoffman in the film.
NETFLIX / PH
Neil Patrick Harris has taken over the role of Count Olaf from Jim Carey
Lemony Snicket is much more prominent in the Netflix series
Handler applauded the trio in an interview with Vulture, saying: “My hat is off to them. We looked at a gazillion auditions and performances.
“Oftentimes, with a young actor, if they're not looking directly at the camera that's the best performance you can get. We're talking about a much more layered performance here. I hope they're not too exhausted.”
The show is narrated by Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket, who is dropped right into the action and adds a darkly comic edge.
In the film, he was played by Jude Law and was only seen in silhouette holed up in a writing room.
The actors who played the children in the original film are now grown-up
New actors play Mr Poe and Justice Strauss
K Todd Freeman plays Mr Poe, a role originated by Timothy Spall. The blundering banker takes on a much more prominent role in the new series than in either the film or the original books.
Rounding up the main cast are the childrens’ guardians – Joan Cusack as Justice Strauss (played by Catherine O'Hara in the film), Aasif Mandvi as Uncle Monty (previously played by Billy Connolly) and Alfre Woodard as Aunt Josephine (taking over from Meryl Steep).
Each of the guardians are noticeably more adept in the series than they were in the film, particularly Aunt Josephine who regains her courage to confront Count Olaf at the end of The Wide Window.
As well as featuring a different cast, the series has made several plot changes from both the film and the books.
Meryl Streep memorably played Justice Strauss
Timothy Spall played Mr Poe
The new adaptation is much more faithful to the books than the film, which only spanned the first three novels.
In the film, the children returned to Count Olaf after Aunt Josephine’s death with the Marvellous Marriage plot moved to the end of the film.
The mystery is barely mentioned in the film and comes into play much later in the books.