Daniel Handler (better known as Lemony Snicket) recently sat down with Vulture to discuss bringing his Series of Unfortunate Events books to life on Netflix, and the challenges that led there.
Originally set to become a feature film, the series (and Handler) took a hit when the studio decided to replace Barry Sonnenfeld as director and scrap Handler’s script. The film never came to fruition and it wasn’t until years later that the series got a new lease on life via Netflix. Handler revealed why he decided to take on the new challenge, even after the movie didn’t work out.
Because they (Netflix) asked me very nicely. Netflix approached me and said, “We think episodic television might be the better way to do this and we can structure it in the following way.” That made a lot of sense to me, so that was attractive to me.
Explaining that it’s felt like “getting the old band back together,” Handler and Sonnenfeld (who returned to the project when Netflix expressed interest), have worked in tandem to bring the beloved book series to life as Netflix’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. However, the process hasn’t always been smooth sailing.
“The biggest challenge, frankly, in writing for the screen is the collaborative aspect of it, which I think is exciting and good for me, but an adjustment for sure,” Handler explained. “I’m used to being alone all day.”
But still, it seems that the majority of Handler and Sonnenfeld’s work has gone into balancing the lighthearted tone with the dark and grim stories they’re telling.
I guess sometimes we would say, “Oh gosh, no that’s too dark.” And sometimes we would say, “Oh no, that’s too goofy.” I think the balance between the high camp possibilities and the overly grim possibilities, that’s the whole challenge — to make it neither making fun of grief nor an unending parade of despair. I would say that 90 percent of the conversations that we have between each other is working that out.
However, Handler did go on to say that the team is already at work on a second season, holding their writers’ room in his home dining room.
The interview is quite robust, and you can check out the rest of it here; however, there was also a new A Series of Unfortunate Events featurette released alongside it, which you can view below:
Finally, you can also check out our reviews of the first season:
All eight episodes of season one of A Series of Unfortunate Events are streaming on Netflix now.