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LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

Casting The Considerable Cast
Lemony Snicket's hysterically woeful account begins when the three Baudelaire siblings are bluntly told that their parents have just died in a fire that destroyed their home. Producer Walter F. Parkes says that Lemony Snicket's tale follows the tradition of literature dating back to the classics and carrying through to literature and film today.

"From the Brothers Grimm to Dickens, from 'Bambi' to 'Finding Nemo,' the idea of being orphaned is a central theme of family literature,” observes Parkes. Ironically, it often provides the foundation for the most hopeful and empowering of stories because it deals in a magnified way with the challenge that all children eventually face: growing up and dealing successfully with the adult world.”

"These stories are classic because they allow children to deal with certain unavoidable fears in a safe context,” adds producer Laurie MacDonald. "They also instill the feeling that no matter what happens, things will turn out all right.”

In fact, things do turn out all right time and again in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events,” but not until the Baudelaire children are sent to live with a series of abominable guardians. The first is Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), who follows them to each of their new homes in a relentless campaign to trick the orphans out of their vast inheritance.

To Mr. Carrey, Count Olaf was a role he had to play because it allowed him to be so many characters with in a character. "This guy is everything that's negative about a human being,” laughs Mr. Carrey. whose character dons a series of outrageous disguises in the course of the film, including dressing up as a salty peg-legged sailor and a deranged lab assistant. "He's a megalomaniac. He's a sociopath. He's a complete facade who's insecure about everything from his acting ability to his hairline — though he'd never let anyone know that — and best of all, he allowed me to make fun of acting!” Suspiciously, ML Carrey denies being a terrible villain himself, despite the fact that he has amassed an enormous fortune.

"To Count Olaf, the Baudelaire children are the door to his future — nothing more,” continues ML Carrey. "You'll like him even though you're supposed to hate him.” The interview concluded, Mr. Carrey then returned to reading the thespian classic "Despicable Characters and the Fans Who Love Them.”

Another caretaker of the children is their Aunt Josephine (Meryl Streep), a nervous widow who never turns on the radiator for fear it might explode, avoids her refrigerator because it might fall and crush her, and doesn't use her telephone because of the danger of electrocution. Frightened of just about everything except grammar, Aunt Josephine lives in an old house perched precariously on a cliff high above Lake Lachrymose, a long and complicated description which here means "not a very good idea, especially because it is about to be hit by a hurricane.”

"Aunt Josephine is a great tremulous little bird of a person who was an adventurer in her youth until something spooked her,” says Ms. Streep. "I just fell in love with this character who is terrified of absolutely everything, because at a certain level, so am I.. .so are we all,” she concludes, peeking out from behind a false bookcase.

More intuitive and insightful than any of the adults in charge of them, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire must employ every ounce of intelligence, ingenuity and courage to endure a series of fantastical misadventures that include an Incredibly Deadly Viper, a swarm of hungry leeches and dishwashing.

Violet (Emily Browning) is the eldest of the siblings and one of the finest 14-year-old inventors the world has ever known, having invented such contraptions as a bed that makes itself an automatic harmonica player and a device that can retrieve a rock after it has been skipped in to the ocean. Violet's inventiveness serves th

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