Some people dream of fame and fortune. Not Neil Patrick Harris. He already has that.
Filling the star's sleeping hours and his new Web series? Puppets.
Neil's Puppet Dreams debuts Tuesday and airs every Tuesday except Christmas and New Year's Day on the Nerdist YouTube Channel. Each episode of the seven-part Web series presents an exclusive look at Harris' puppet-infested dreams. Nathan Fillion and Joe Manganiello guest star.
"The concept of dreams seemed like a great way to tell all kinds of different stories in all kinds of different styles," Harris, 39, said in a telephone interview. "You can dream and your dreams can be hilarious, your dreams can be terrifying, your dreams can be poignant, or your dreams can be absolute nonsense."
Harris has always loved puppets. "Jim Henson was the only person I ever wrote a fan letter to," he recalls. So when Chris Hardwick, co-president of Nerdist Industries, approached him about creating a Web series with the help of puppet master Brian Henson of the Jim Henson Company, he jumped at the opportunity.
"I've always just been enamored by people that can be so creative with something that's put together with felt, ping-pong balls and glue," says Harris. "I vividly remember Sesame Street growing up and Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal and The Muppet Show, so I was really drawn to that sense of humor and level of overt creativity."
But Sesame Street this isn't. "We're actively not doing a kids puppet show," says Harris.
By creating a show for the Web rather than TV or film, Harris didn't have to worry about studio executives telling him or his puppets what they could and couldn't say. "I loved that we could create anything we wanted without anyone telling us we couldn't…We were just able to go with what we wanted."
In addition to filming Season 8 of How I Met Your Mother, Harris is currently directing a magic show at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and caring for his two children with partner and Puppet Dreams co-star and executive producer David Burtka.