Is it any shock that Daniel Handler's Lemony Snicket books, ''A Series of Unfortunate Events,'' went through exactly that in getting to the screen? But after an arduous development process and a director swap (City of Angels' Brad Silberling replaced Barry Sonnenfeld), the Paramount/DreamWorks coproduction has hit a lucky streak. Based on the first three books in Handler's set of novellas about a trio of orphans who dodge ill fortune -- and the evil Count Olaf -- at every turn, Silberling's movie is scheduled to wrap in May and is set for a December release. ''We're working with a lot of kids, including infants,'' says Silberling, with a smile. ''Thank God that we have two ultraprofessional actors.'' Of course, if your movie featured Meryl Streep (Aunt Josephine) and Jim Carrey (Olaf), you'd be counting your lucky stars too.