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How does Neil Patrick Harris keep his 'Series of Unfortunate Events' characters distinct? Just watch

The star of "A Series of Unfortunate Events" knows the books say Count Olaf has a high, wheezing voice, but he went low to avoid "bad old man acting."

Two seasons in, it's safe to say Netflix's whimsical adaptation of "A Series of Unfortunate Events," the popular children's book series by Daniel Handler under the pen name Lemony Snicket, has been an education in vocal manipulation for Neil Patrick Harris.

The jack-of-all-trades actor plays Count Olaf, the dastardly uncle to three orphans who is determined to get their inheritance — often disguising himself in a variety of personas to trick the children — in the dark but playful tale.

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It's a role that has Harris putting his best face forward. But it's the various voices of the personas where the real work in distinguishing each character came.

"I usually got drawings of my face with different renderings, looks, as a jumping-off point," Harris said when he visited the L.A. Times video studio. "I wanted vocally for them to be different." (For a sampling of his vocal range, we encourage you to watch the video above.)

Harris also spoke about what it was like having his kids appear in the show's second season, which hit Netflix last month; his motivations for being part of two other kid-centric projects (he hosts and executive produces NBC's new game show "Genius Junior"); and his thoughts on rebooting "How I Met Your Mother" and "Doogie Howser M.D."

Watch the full conversation below:

"Anything I do that's awful is actually good," the "A Series of Unfortunate Events" star says of playing the villainous bad actor during a wide-ranging discussion about the show.

Twitter: @villarrealy

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