In Netflix's upcoming adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Neil Patrick Harris takes on the role of the villainous Count Olaf, which required a great deal of makeup and facial prosthetics, as well as an astounding number of different costumes and wigs.
Harris spoke with ET at the premiere of the stylish adventure series in New York City on Tuesday, where he opened up about the challenges of playing a character that required so much makeup work.
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"It takes about three hours to get all the stuff on, and then all day long you have to make sure it's not coming off," Harris explained. "So all day long someone's just poking at your face. All day--literally, nine hours of someone between takes just [fixing your makeup.]"
In the series, Harris stars as the sinister Olaf, who becomes the guardians of a trio of orphans and devises various malevolent schemes to to steal the fortune the children are set to inherit from their deceased parents. The dark, hyper-stylized comedy adventure is based on the wildly popular children's book series of the same name.
While on set, and in full makeup, Harris would stay in character as the antagonistic Olaf, often annoying and messing with the three young actors who star as his wards. When it comes to his own children, Harris said he also strives to keep things fun and playful, as much as possible.
"I like to always do things with a tongue firmly planted in my cheek. At least with the kids," said Harris, who shares 6-year-old twins Harper and Gideon with his husband, David Burtka. "That way, if I'm being reprimanding, or getting serious, at least I can still give them a little bit of a wink and let them know that I'm upset but not going to destroy them."
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While Harris plays a character who rocks dozens of different, intricate disguises in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Emmy-winning star said that he doesn't have to wear any kind of disguise to go unnoticed in real life.
"I live here in New York, so most people are interested in their own little worlds here," he shared. "You throw a cap on and have your [headphones on] and you can just go on the subway and walk around like a normal person. And the people here recognize you and they go, 'Hey, you're that guy.' And then they keep on walking."
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, also starring Patrick Warburton and Joan Cusack, premieres on Netflix on Friday.
Reporting by Rande Iaboni