“Just about everything — 99.99% of what you see on screen — was built especially for the show,” declares Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, creator of the books on which is based the hit Netflix comedy “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Adds star Neil Patrick Harris, “It’s shocking. I can’t stop talking about the sets.” Watch the featurette above.
The series was developed for television by Emmy winner Barry Sonnenfeld (“Pushing Daisies”), who also directed four of the eight episodes of season one. “We wanted to create our own world that is unique to these books,” says Sonnenfeld. “The sets are all created by the multiple Academy Award nominated Bo Welch, who I’ve worked with on the ‘Men in Black’ movies, ‘The Tick,’ ‘Wild Wild West’ … They don’t look like anything you’ve ever seen before.”
Welch has earned four Oscar nominations for his production design: “The Color Purple” (1985), “A Little Princess” (1995), “The Birdcage” (1996) and Sonnenfeld’s “Men in Black” (1997). He also won a BAFTA Award for “Edward Scissorhands” (1990), but he’s never been up for an Emmy. There’s a strong chance that will change given the Emmy track record of Sonnenfeld, whose “Pushing Daisies” was similarly ambitious in its visuals and won Best Art Direction in 2009.
The Emmy for Best Production Design for narrative shows is currently divided between period and contemporary/fantasy series. “Unfortunate Events” would likely enter the contemporary/fantasy contest which is good news for two reasons. First, it keeps the show out of the way of fellow Netflix series “The Crown,” which is a strong contender for its period production design. Second, there’s an opening in the category: “Game of Thrones” won the contemporary/fantasy award last year, and that HBO juggernaut is taking a year off from the Emmys as it didn’t air any new episodes during this eligibility period. But the “Unfortunate” series could still face tough competition from returning nominees “House of Cards” and “The Man in the High Castle.”
Harris stars in the series as Count Olaf, a creepy guardian who wants to acquire the inheritance of the Baudelaire orphans (Violet, Klaus, and Sunny) following the mysterious death of their parents. The 2004 film of the same name starring Jim Carrey as Olaf covered much of the same territory, but only adapted the first three books, while the first season of the TV series followed the first four novels.
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