For Exeter's Matty Cardarople, a series of fortunate events

Sunday News Correspondent
January 06. 2017 5:57PM

Matty Cardarople has a new role: Henchperson of Indetermined Gender.

It's a strange and unusual part for the actor and Exeter native, who was cast in "A Series of Unfortunate Events" - a new eight-episode series premiering Friday on Netflix.

The series is based on the best-selling children's novels by Lemony Snicket - the pen name of author Daniel Handler - and follows the orphaned Baudelaire children who end up in the custody of Count Olaf, an evil relative determined to swipe their inheritance. The children face trials and tribulations while trying to outsmart Olaf in an effort to uncover clues about their parents' deaths.

The role is the latest for Cardarople, a 2001 Exeter High School graduate who continues to build up his Hollywood resume, which most recently included a part in the 2015 blockbuster film "Jurassic World."

In "A Series of Unfortunate Events," Cardarople had a chance to star alongside Emmy and Tony Award winning actor Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Olaf.

The series also features Patrick Warburton (Lemony Snicket), Joan Cusack (Justice Strauss), Malina Weissman (Violet Baudelaire) and Louis Hynes (Klaus Baudelaire).

Cardarople's Henchperson of Indetermined Gender is one of Olaf's associates.

"The character was neither a man nor a woman. That was a fun thing to play. I haven't really done something like that," he said.

The series was filmed in Vancouver, Canada, from March to August of last year.

Cardarople auditioned for the part and was excited when he learned he had landed the recurring role.

"I never worked in Vancouver before and it seemed like an amazing opportunity," he said.

Cardarople recalled his first interaction with Harris, who first gained fame for his role as the young physician on the TV series "Doogie Howser, M.D." in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"Neil Patrick Harris was so cool. He's such a sweet man. The first big scene filming with him he gave me a big hug and welcomed me. That felt great," Cardarople said.

He said his role as the Henchperson of Indetermined Gender was different because he had to wear a lot of makeup and get into a costume, which is something he hasn't experienced in other roles.

But he felt that it was the perfect for him.

"My character is very dry and that's right in my wheelhouse. It was easy to do that. That's what I do," he said.

While it took him about a half-hour to get made up, Cardarople said Harris wasn't so lucky: It took two to three hours of makeup to transform him into the villainous Olaf. Harris was barely recognizable by the time the makeup artists were done with him.

Cardarople is hoping his friends and family back home will tune in to check the Netflix series.

"It's funny, but it also has some darkness to it," he said.

Cardarople left New Hampshire several years ago to pursue his Hollywood career, but he still has roots here. His father lives in Kensington and his mother and stepfather live in Massachusetts.

He described his mother as his biggest inspiration as an artist and actor.

"I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for her," he said.

As he prepares for the Netflix premiere, Cardarople is also planning to get married this month.

He's looking forward to other endeavors as well, which include a role as fast food employee "Stu" in the film "The Big Sick" with Ray Romano, Holly Hunter and Kumail Nanjiani. The film premieres at the Sundance Film Festival.

He's also written a movie about pet store clerks that's in development, he said, and he'll be appearing on what he described as an upcoming "hit show" that at the moment must remain "top secret." Cardarople would only reveal that he'll have a "very unique hairstyle."

"I think I'm in a really good place. I'm in a place where I'm still mastering my craft and growing," he said.

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