×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Par on ‘Snicket’ ticket

Pic focuses on orphan trio

“Men in Black 2” director Barry Sonnenfeld has reunited with producer Scott Rudin on “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” the first of what execs at Paramount and Nickelodeon Films hope will be a film franchise based on the bestselling book series by Daniel Handler, who is writing the screenplay.

Sonnenfeld was elevated from cinematographer to make his directing debut on the Rudin-produced “The Addam’s Family” and its sequel, “Addam’s Family Values.” It was that film, the “Men in Black” series, and even the dark humor of “Get Shorty” that prompted Rudin and Nickelodeon to draft Sonnenfeld for “Snicket” duty.

“We wanted someone who would define a visual style with a sense of black comedy, and Barry does that so well,” said Albie Hecht, president of Nickelodeon Film and Television.

Pic is set in a distant and nonspecific world that leaves lots of creative room.

Orphaned trio

The “Snicket” saga revolves around a pint-sized trio of orphans named Sunny, Klaus and Violet who find themselves fobbed off on a series of odd people, including Lemony Snicket, who narrates each of what has grown to a series of eight books since Handler debuted the first title in 1999. Recurring bad guy is a distant family relative named Count Olaf, who initially takes in the kids but clearly is trying to separate them from a family inheritance.

“This will be a movie with broad-based appeal,” said Rob Friedman, Paramount Pictures vice chairman. “It is edgy the way ‘Harry Potter’ is edgy and if you wanted to call this our ‘Harry Pottter,’ you wouldn’t be mistaken.”

While there is not the obvious magical powers of “Harry Potter” or “Lord of the Rings,” the series has been wildly popular. Five of the top 10 spots on the New York Times kiddie bestseller lists are held by Snicket volumes.

“Barry can take kids and make them entertaining to adults,” Hecht said. “Just think of Christina Ricci in ‘Addam’s Family.’ That is exactly the model for what we want to do here.”

Nick notables

Nick has hatched animated film franchises with “Rugrats,” a third installment of which is being made, and the about-to-be-sequelized “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.” But Hecht said “Snicket” is the company’s most ambitious franchise foray.

“We knew we had something special with the book, and that’s why we first got involved with Scott, who has an uncanny ability to see literary properties and how they can be translated to the screen,” Hecht said.

Hecht said the project already is looking for locations and working on set designs, and stressed that the adult characters of Snicket and Olaf are recurring.

CAA reps Sonnenfeld.

More Film

  • Awards Season Mens Fashion Harry Shum

    Men's Fashion Is Changing Things Up This Awards Season

    The standard black tuxedo men donned to awards shows for decades is quickly becoming an outmoded uniform. From bold colors, to striking textures, to novel silhouettes, men’s awards show looks are now just as fashion-forward as women’s. “It was a slow evolution and then a really quick evolution,” says Ilaria Urbinati, who styles Rami Malek, [...]

  • Montage Los Cabos Queen Kapiolani Hotel

    Where to Relax After Awards Season, From Mexico to Hawaii

    Sundance and the Grammys. Here’s where to trip a little light fantastic and celebrate in style, forget disappointments and, best of all, reconnect with loved ones or yourself. FAMILY GETAWAYSDisney magic: Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif. The Disneyland Resort is expert at handling VIPs and the 948-room Grand Californian is its hotel [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Takes Off With $3 Million

    “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” flew to $3 million at about 3,200 North American location on Thursday night. The figure doubled the preview gross for “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part,” which pulled in $1.5 million two weeks ago on Feb. 8. Universal has predicted an opening weekend for “How to [...]

  • Isnt It Romantic

    The Rom-Com Is Dead. Long Live the Rom-Com (Column)

    The romantic comedy as we’ve known it may well be on its last legs. There is now a whole generation that sees through its synthetic stylings and princess fakery — and, more than that, feels fundamentally insulted by them. Yet “Isn’t It Romantic,” the beguiling meta version of a kitschy-koo romantic comedy, proves (among other [...]

  • Atmosphere91st Annual Academy Awards, Governors Ball

    Inside the 2019 Oscar Parties

    Stars party all around Hollywood before, during, and after the Oscars. Here, Variety hits the town to give you the inside scoop on all the star-studded soirées. Keep checking back throughout the weekend for the latest updates… Variety x Armani Beauty Makeup Artistry Dinner Sunset Tower, Los Angeles, Feb. 20 Variety and Giorgio Armani Beauty honored makeup artists [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content