After years of chasing a laugh track on How I Met Your Mother, the actor is following roles in Gone Girl and American Horror Story with Netflix’s new Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the classic children’s books. In the new super-stylized series, Harris stars as the villainous Olaf, who becomes the guardian of three orphans solely to abscond with their fortune.
“I’m drawn to puzzles and darkness,” says Harris. “The Alfred Hitchcock–y vibe is something I’ve been into since I was kid, and I loved Gene Wilder’s take on Willy Wonka and Bridge to Terabithia.”
Aside from being just plain rotten, Harris’s alter ego is also a rotten aspiring musical-theater actor — basically, a much crappier, much uglier version of himself.
“Playing someone so miserable makes things hard to complain about,” says Harris, who spends two and a half hours having prosthetics applied for the role. “I can ingest my annoyances and use them.”
Going by the trailer, Harris also infuses the role of Count Olaf with humor. A performance to look forward to, along with the rest of the cast.