Jim Dooley Interview: ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ composer
For composer Jim Dooley, stepping into season two of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” was “like putting on a warm coat. This kind of dark fantasy world is really something I feel very comfortable doing.” Based on the book series by Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler), this Netflix comedy centers on the three Baudelaire siblings: Violet (Malina Weissman), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Sunny (Presley Smith). After their parents die in a mysterious fire, they face trials and tribulations while uncovering dark family secrets, all while the evil Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris) tries to steal their family fortune. Watch our exclusive video interview with Dooley above.
Dooley joined the creative team at the behest of director and executive producer Barry Sonnenfeld, whom he’d previously worked with on “Pushing Daisies.” The tricky part, he admits, was figuring out how to “add my own sonic thing … to a show that’s already had an existing score for a season.” He solved this problem in an unconventional way. “The first thing I did was start off with brand new instruments that I’d never used before,” he explains. “I rented a truckload of percussion instruments and sampled them all in my studio.” This helped because “when you sit at a piano it’s not terribly easy to do something new with that instrument, but if you start with, for example, a stone marimba,” which Dooley hand-crafted himself, “everything that you do with it then is new.”
Dooley won an Emmy for his work on “Pushing Daisies” (Best Score for a Series in 2008). He has also worked on such films as “Daddy Day Camp” (2007), “Obsessed” (2009), and “Fifty Shades of Black” (2016), as well as the shows “The Last Ship,” “Wilfred,” and “The Contender.”