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Why is Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ so superior to the movie? We ask Barry Sonnenfeld

Part of it was that he feels equally at home in television, in movies and onstage; he could be stylized, he could be big, but he would always be real — real and theatrical at the same time is hard to find. And Olaf’s character is all over the place; he’s got to be really mean and really funny, and sort of a failure, but a threat. The first episode we ever did, “The Bad Beginning,” there’s a scene early on where Olaf slaps Klaus across the face; we did several takes and Neil kept trying to show remorse. I said, “Neil, we’ve got to do one where there’s no remorse.” And Neil said, “Well I feel bad about that, I just hit the kid.” I said, “Olaf is a buffoon, but our heroes are only as heroic as our villain is villainous, and this is one of the few chances we have to say to the audience, and to the Baudelaire kids, this guy’s dangerous.”

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