A Series Of Unfortunate Events: “Lemony Snicket hates Olaf”

Patrick Warburton discusses his role in Netflix’s take on A Series Of Unfortunate Events

A Series Of Unfortunate Events is nothing without an all-seeing narrator, and the upcoming Netflix incarnation has a great one to boast, with Patrick Warburton taking on the role of Lemony Snicket himself.

We spoke to the actor about the strangest TV series you are likely to witness in 2017…

How did you end up getting involved with A Series Of Unfortunate Events?
It was one of the most fantastic work experiences I’ve ever had: to get to spend five months in Vancouver during spring and summer, and to get to work with [director] Barry Sonnenfeld and [writer] Daniel Handler and this amazing cast on this amazing project. It started with a text that I got from Barry: “Patrick, can you come up to Vancouver for five months for my Netflix series?” That’s how things work these days. “Barry, sure. Let’s see if we can work this out.”

Had you read the books before you got involved in the project?
I wasn’t terribly up to speed on the material, but it seemed intriguing to me. I have four kids that never read the books because the moment they found out that both parents died in a house fire, it became too depressing and tragic for them to ever pick up a book. I guess that’s wonderful in a way, that our kids couldn’t imagine something as horrible as their parents dying. I have such an ego; I think we must be great parents.

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Warburton’s Lemony Snicket is not a fan of Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris).

How does the show keep that balance of being both entertaining and unbelievably tragic?
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel with these stories. Nothing can trump the imagination. [Handler and Sonnenfeld] took many things into account. Barry’s such a creative filmmaker that they were able to capture the darkness, the despair, the misery and the creepiness, but also keep it humorous and fun. It’s entertaining to watch, but also authentic to the books.

Do you enjoy this sub-genre of family fairy tales with creepy twists?
I like it because it’s complex, it’s a story and a journey, and it’s compelling and fun to watch. [With ASOUE] you have three kids that are very bright, they’re intelligent and they manage their way out of horrible situations against insurmountable odds. They’re surrounded by well-meaning adults who can’t see the forest for the trees. They can’t see what’s right in front of them, but the kids see it. It’s a great story for any young people that are dealing with things that seem insurmountable.

As the narrator, Lemony Snicket, what kind of role do you play in the show?
There’s no interaction [with the other characters] whatsoever, but Lemony’s not a detached narrator. He’s a part of these lives. Has he ever actually met the Baudelaire children? We don’t know. We know that he hates Olaf. He believes that Olaf is just a terrible actor. They were in an acting troupe together years ago, and I’m sure that Lemony saw Olaf do some just horrible scene work.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events will be available to stream on Netflix from 13 January 2017. For all the latest TV news, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.