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Characters / A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

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The characters of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events 2004 film adaptation.

For the characters as portrayed in the book series, see A Series of Unfortunate Events.
For the characters as portrayed in its 2017 series adaptation, see A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017).

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The Baudelaire Children

    In General 
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: While their appearance outside of illustrations are never really detailed in the books, the movie makes them appear much more "pretty" (excepting Violet, who was described as being pretty in the books), making Klaus look much older than he probably should, and making him no longer need glasses, which would be a vital plot point in the fourth book. The reason for changing Klaus's glasses from Blind Without 'Em to a pince-nez he only wears while reading was to avoid making him look too similar to Harry Potter.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Aside from the coats given when they're sent to live with their aunt and the camel and bride costumes Olaf makes Violet and Klaus wear, the children wear the same set of clothes throughout the film. Justified since all their other clothes were burnt up by the fire and their guardians weren't able to get them any clothes before they were killed, or in Olaf's case, he just didn't care.
  • Only Sane Man: Frequently the Baudelaires are this, and Liam Aiken (who played Klaus) himself described the siblings as "the only sane people."


Violet Baudelaire
Played By: Emily Browning

The eldest of the Baudelaire orphans, she is an intelligent inventor who makes inventions out of everyday items.

  • Character Tics: Tying up her hair with a ribbon when she gets an idea. Klaus has taken note of this, asking her to tie up her hair in one scene as a way to tell her to think of a way to escape from a tricky situation.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Olaf has the kids in his custody once again and forces Violet to marry him in a ceremony disguised as a play, surrendering the family's fortune to him via marriage certificate, under the threat of dropping Sunny from a cage perched high above his mansion, Violet can't find any other way to get out of this than to follow Olaf's scheme. However, she later tries to make the marriage license void by signing it incorrectly and tells the audience that Olaf forcing her to do this against her will.
  • MacGyvering: Violet's specialty, she gets herself and her siblings out of countless predicaments by smartly using objects and items around her.
  • Not His Sled: In the novels, Violet avoids marriage to Count Olaf by signing the certificate with her left hand (there's a rule stating that signing with your non-dominant hand renders the marriage null and void). In the film, Count Olaf takes notice that she's trying that, tells her to sign it properly, causing a need for another method.


Klaus Baudelaire
Played By: Liam Aiken

The middle child of the Baudelaire orphans, he's an intelligent bookworm who uses his knowledge of books to get himself and his siblings out of trouble.


Sunny Baudelaire
Played By: Kara and Shelby Hoffman

The youngest of the Baudelaire orphans, she is an infant with very sharp teeth who's quite sassy despite still not being able to speak.

  • Deadpan Snarker: Sunny's baby talk has her be snarky to the adult characters, even though they can't understand her.

Count Olaf's Theater Troupe

     Count Olaf 

Count Olaf
Played By: Jim Carrey

A villainous stage actor who lusts after the Baudelaire family fortune, no matter where they go and how many stupid disguises he has to wear.

  • Adaptational Intelligence: Count Olaf, while a lot goofier and more comical than in the books, a definite Large Ham and prone to Evil Gloating, is also a good deal smarter and more competent than his book counterpart. Throughout the movie he's constantly one step ahead of everyone else, even managing to see though plots and schemes that his book counterpart fell for.
  • Adaptational Karma: In the novels and Netflix series, Count Olaf escapes justice, thus escaping comeuppance. In the film, however, Count Olaf ends up arrested and is forced to suffer everything the Baudelaire children had to go through before serving a life sentence. Unfortunately, he does survive all of those mishaps and his theater troupe ended up as part of the jury and overturned his life sentence, thus allowing Count Olaf to escape.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Count Olaf was written as very sinister in the original books, and remains so in the movie. However, Jim Carrey's portrayal of Olaf made the character more over the top and hammy, leaning closer to comic relief.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Olaf tries to force Violet to marry him in a staged play. His description of what he intends Violet strongly suggests that it would have been an Awful Wedded Life.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Count Olaf in this version is a complete goofball who, while a terrible person, doesn't seem particularly dangerous. He is no less of a cold blooded murderer than he was in the books.
  • Coattail-Riding Relative: Count Olaf spends most of the movie trying to get the Baudelaire orphans' inheritance.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Count Olaf is almost always one of these, and no one believes the Baudelaires until they finally prove that his latest persona is a criminal.
  • Fauxreigner: Olaf as "Stephano" claims to be Italian, but he sounds more like a cross between Frank Oz (or more specifically, Fozzie Bear) and a vague foreshadowing of Heath Ledger as the Joker. Footage exists of Carrey getting make-up applied for a very different version of Stephano, with long greasy hair, an outrageous Italian accent, and generally very filthy looking. This was likely changed for being too similar to negative Italian caricatures.
  • Glove Snap: Count Olaf does this in his herpetologist disguise.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Captain Sham (Count Olaf) says, "There ain't nothin' better than good grammar!" in front of Aunt Josephine, a Grammar Nazi.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Count Olaf repeatedly mispronounces certain words, most noticeably sur-preez (which is actually the French way of pronouncing the word).
  • Laser-Guided Karma: At the end of the film, after Olaf gets apprehended, he is tried and found guilty in court and put through most of the significantly harrowing situations the orphans were forced into before serving a life sentence.
  • Orphaned Punchline: As Count Olaf brings his acting troupe in near the beginning, he's saying, "...tub full of ice in Baja, and I realize that these clever girls had stolen my kidney! Imagine my surpreez!"
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: ** His first disguise, Stefano, is actually pretty terms of makeup. What is supposed to tip others off is his incompetence. His introductory lines are a good example of Malaproper, and to young geniuses like Violet and Klaus an immediate giveaway. That said, the only evidence that ensures it's really Count Olaf is The Law of Conservation of Detail — Montgomery concludes just as quickly that "Stefano" is actually a spy from the Herpetological Society.
    • Captain Sham, on the other hand, is so blatantly Olaf it's Played for Laughs. You can see a member of Olaf's acting troupe almost immediately after Sham appears to confirm it. "Sham" proceeds to romance Aunt Josephine in an equally blatant example of Adults Are Useless.

     The Hook-Handed Man 

The Hook-Handed Man

Played By: Jamie Harris

One of Count Olaf's minions.

     The Bald Man 

The Bald Man

Played By: Luis Guzmán

One of Count Olaf's minions.

     The Person of Indeterminate Gender 

The Person of Indeterminate Gender

Played By: Craig Ferguson

One of Count Olaf's minions.


     The White-Faced Women 

The White-Faced Women

Played By: Jennifer Coolidge and Jane Adams

Two of Count Olaf's minions.

The Baudelaires' Guardians

     Uncle Monty 

Dr. Montgomery "Monty" Montgomery

Played By: Billy Connolly

An eccentric herpetologist and the Baudelaires' uncle who temporarily becomes their guardian.

     Aunt Josephine 

Josephine Anwhistle

Played By: Meryl Streep

A paranoid, grammar-obsessed recluse and the Baudelaires' aunt who temporarily becomes their guardian.

Other Characters

     Lemony Snicket 

Lemony Snicket

Played By: Jude Law

An introverted writer and the narrator of the story.

     Mr. Poe 

Mr. Poe

Played By: Timothy Spall

A stuffy banker whose job is to take the Baudelaire children to their guardians, but is quite incompetent at keeping them safe.

  • Papa Wolf: Even though he's just as oblivious to Olaf's evil intentions as everyone else, Mr. Poe shows some signs of this for the children... in some ways. The main examples are him being outraged that Sunny was "driving" a car and Olaf tried to gain the Baudelaire fortune by getting Justice Strauss to unknowingly marry Violet to Olaf.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: After Olaf tries to kill the orphans by parking his car with them inside on the grade crossing, Mr. Poe rightly removes them from his guardianship, but only because he believed Olaf let baby Sunny drive.

     Justice Strauss 

Justice Strauss

Played By: Catherine O'Hara

Count Olaf's kind neighbor and a judge.



Played By: Cedric the Entertainer

A skeptical, well, constable.

  • Canon Foreigner: Has no counterpart in the books.
  • Police Are Useless: That he's a police constable doesn't mean that he's of any help to the Baudelaires, though his presence at least means that in this continuity they actually exist.


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