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A sneak peek at ''Lemony Snicket.'' Here's a look at the latest flick starring Jim Carrey by Daniel Fierman
Pity the baudelaire orphans. their parents? murdered. Their home? Destroyed. Their guardian? Count Olaf (Jim Carrey), a dastardly thespian with a passion for overacting. Whatâ€™s even worse, thanks to director Brad Silberling and production designer Rick Heinrichs, the tots of ''Lemony Snicket'' inhabit a spooky world of cavernous mansions, stuffed animal heads, oversize serpents, and other gloomy touches. ''In [Daniel Handler's] novels the city is capitalized: THE CITY,'' says Silberling. ''And so the city in which our kids live is every city. Somewhat Edwardian and a bit of what we were calling New England Gothic. Basically, Rick and I went out into the real world and stole what we wanted [for] our world.'' Inspiration was found in everything from streets in the Boston enclave of Charlestown to shots of derelict Detroit houses seen in old picture books. The resulting visuals are soaring and scary, darkly comic, and just plain dark. ''There's a Dickensian aura over these children,'' says Heinrichs. ''They're at the mercy of these adults, who range from murderous to, at the very best, harmless but useless. We wanted the visuals to reflect that.''
Count Olaf's manse (pictured) presented one of the biggest design challenges of the film. Silberling and Heinrichs wanted something that appeared to have once been grand but now lies in tatters. ''We thought, This is a place that â€” through nefarious means â€” he inherited but has never had the funds to keep up,'' says Silberling. ''He's probably burned every stick of furniture [in the fireplace].'' Keep an eye out for the grand staircase: Silberling is a huge fan of the Carol Reed classic The Third Man and says, ''It's a little tip, architecturally, to that movie. We basically stole it.''
Forced perspective played a critical role in the production, as evidenced by the railroad crossing (pictured) where Olaf attempts to have the siblings killed by an oncoming train, and the street scene. But the devil is in the details. ''We had fun with the small stuff,'' says Heinrichs. ''Like Olaf's car. We put a reel-to-reel tape deck into the dashboard. You can only imagine how hard it is to drive and change reels.''[/list]
A world built by imagination, ruled by invention and strung together by a series of unfortunate events.
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