It's been more than two years since Netflix announced they'd be taking on an adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. We've been waiting on the edge of our metaphorical seats ever since, and our excitement only intensified when, back in March, it was confirmed that Broadway-and-Hollywood superstar Neil Patrick Harris would be taking on the role of the nefarious Count Olaf.
Now it's less than a month to go until the series hits our small screens, and Netflix has kept the details a relative mystery. So when BuzzFeed got the chance to meet Neil himself, we were determined to find out a little bit more. And, because it's that time of year, we also had fun decorating some pretty unfortunate wreaths. Because why not?
Neil Patrick Harris: Tip number one: Get a glue gun. You’ll find out soon why. My second tip is to make sure that the table you’re using is higher than this one, because right now it’s just… It’s a lot of balls.
How long did it take you to transform into Count Olaf?
NPH: The makeup took about two and a half hours every morning. The meditation was another hour and a half. I would eat a big breakfast – that was probably 45 minutes. And then it was lunch.
I’m assuming you don’t have a lot in common with your character personality-wise, so how did you prepare to play a villain?
NPH: Playing a villain was fun, only because you get to do all the things you wouldn’t normally do in your real life. You get to spend time growling at children, reprimanding people, barking at people on set. Saying, “Where’s my coffee? Where’s my coffee?!”
And I mostly didn’t mean it. I was mostly doing it out of jest.
And what was the biggest challenge you faced?
NPH: The hardest part of playing the villain was the prosthetics, because I couldn’t really move my face as much as I wanted to, and yet I had to move my face a lot. If I moved my face in certain ways the prosthetics would come apart, so I could do a lot of eyebrow acting, but I couldn’t do a lot of nose lifting, or the corners of the nose would pop out.
What was your favourite part of the costume?
NPH: I like Olaf’s wardrobe, because the whole thing seems like it should be a period piece in many ways, and yet the date is non-specific. So I would wear cloaks and jackets, but also turtlenecks. I was a little beatnik, and kind of hipster in that way. It was Olaf by way of Brooklyn.
Did you feel pressure coming into a project that had so much anticipation behind it?
NPH: There’d been a movie based on this before, and that was, I guess, a little bit of pressure. At the same time, that movie told four books in two hours, and we have two hours per book. So we have eight hours to tell four books, and if people watch we’ll get to tell more of them. There’s only thirteen books, so there’s only going to be two more seasons, but that allows for a lot of time to be in character and to maintain character.
What was your favourite scene to film?
NPH: I did enjoy singing the song, called “The Count”, which is Count Olaf’s big song that he sings to the kids when they first arrive with his henchpeople. He wrote it himself, and he thinks he’s really, really talented, and it’s a terrible song. So we had to learn intentionally bad choreography… We did these almost Lady Gaga-ish kind of movements, which were just awful, but that made me laugh.