The INSIDER Summary:
• Filmmaker Matt Skuta made a video comparing the movie and TV adaptations of “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
• The video shows a stark contrast to the movie adaptation from 2004.
• In particular, it highlights the diverse cast of the Netflix adaptation.
When Netflix adapted Daniel Handler’s beloved children’s book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events” into a show this year, they scratched an itch that the series’s fans had for more than a decade.
In 2004, Nickelodeon adapted the first three of the series’s 13 books into a movie starring Jim Carrey. That’s where the studio stopped, leaving the other ten books without adaptations. It left fans unsatisfied.
“It’s [a] mystery to me,” Handler told Entertainment Weekly. “I think there was always interest but, as you say, there were a lot of companies involved and whole phalanxes of lawyers who put it together the first time. I think that it was really kind of bureaucracy that prevented it before.”
With a new attempt, Handler wants to give the book series the adaptation its due. One of the biggest changes is the diversity in its casting.
The second season hasn’t been officially greenlit yet, but Handler already mapped out how he wants the rest of it to be adapted. He’s planning to bring the same approach to adapting the first four books in the first season to the rest of the series.
A side-by-side comparison of the movie and TV show by filmmaker Matt Skuta highlights some of the similarities and differences between the adaptations. Some of the shots are nearly identical, while others are given a different approach.
The similarities make sense. Some of the same people, like Handler and director (of the Netflix version) Barry Sonnenfeld, were involved in both adaptations. And, of course, they have the same source material.
The most striking different, though, is the diversity of the cast.
The four principal characters — Count Olaf and Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire — are all played by white actors. But outside of those, the Netflix show casted more non-white actors in significant roles.
Take, for example, Mr. Poe, the Baudelaire orphan’s hapless estate manager. In the movie adaptation, he’s played by white actor Timothy Spall. In the show, he’s played by K. Todd Freeman, who is black. Likewise, Dr. Montgomery Montgomery is played by white actor Billy Connolly in the movie and Indian-American actor Aasif Mandvi in the television show.
And the Baudelaire’s third guardian, Aunt Josephine, is played by Meryl Streep in the movie and black actress Alfre Woodard in the television show.
The entire comparison video is worth watching and reveals a lot about the two adaptations. Watch it below:
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