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Interview: Talking Fandom with ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Star Dan Fogler

March 27, 2019Ben MK

Prior to his roles in 2016's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and 2018's Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Dan Fogler might not have been a household name. However, a lot can change in a few years.

Best known as Jacob Kowalski in J.K. Rowling's ever-expanding cinematic universe, and currently starring as Luke in The Walking Dead and as Uncle Marvin in The Goldbergs, Fogler has not only garnered himself somewhat of a cult fan following — he's also a huge fan himself. Now, with his own comics, Moon Lake and Brooklyn Gladiator, gaining in popularity as well, the 42-year-old actor is completing the movie, TV and comic book trifecta, which makes his recent appearance at Toronto Comicon all the more timely.

I caught up with Fogler for a roundtable interview to chat about fandom, his career in movies and television, and more. The following is an edited version of that conversation.

A lot of the characters you've portrayed over the past few years seem to lean more towards the "geek" or "nerd" side of fandom. Are you drawn to those types of characters?

Fogler: Yeah, I'm drawn to those parts, cuz I have an affinity for that. I mean, I am that. I grew up with all that stuff. I feel like Jacob [Kowalski], he's more from the streets or something. He's more cuddly and less nerdy or something. [laughs] But yeah, I love those characters. I always try to find the comedy in stuff, I feel like it makes it more human. I'm a character actor, I love playing characters.

What was your experience like on Hannibal, and filming the show in Toronto?

Fogler: I really had a good time. I love Toronto a lot. I've only been here a couple times, but every time it's been cool. I came here for a couple episodes, but [my] character [Franklin] hit home with a lot of people. I really liked working with everybody — there isn't a clinker in the bunch — and writing, directing was just a blast. I wish I wasn't killed so quickly. [laughs] I really would've liked to continue on, but I think it's really cool that Franklin's head ends up in The Silence of the Lambs. His head is found — it's like Futurama.

What's it like being Uncle Marvin on The Goldbergs, and do you have a favorite Uncle Marvin moment?

Fogler: I love doing that show. I wish I could do it year-round. It's a big ensemble, there's only so much money to go around. [laughs] But they bring me on for the holidays, which is always great. I just did a Die Hard [episode]. I get to jump off the roof with the fireworks — are you kidding me?! I get to do the coolest stuff ever. But my favorite one — if I had to narrow it down — was the one where I stole the K.I.T.T. car and I wear that crazy security guard outfit and I'm flipping over parade floats. I love that one. [laughs] That's my favorite, I think.

What was it like being a part of The Walking Dead, and learning sign language?

Fogler: That was great. We had to act like we were a team for ten years, so that was really bonding, learning all the sign language, making up names for each other in sign language. That's like learning a new skill, so it's very intimate and focused. Lauren [Cohan] was teaching us, it was great bonding. I love doing the show. I've always wanted to do a Western and a zombie movie. It's like chocolate and peanut butter, I love that.

What has been your favorite Fantastic Beast from the movies so far?

Fogler: I like that Niffler. He's like Harpo Marx. He's very funny. He can do a lot without saying much.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Fanboys. How do you feel about that?

Fogler: That's crazy. It makes me feel old. [laughs] Cuz that was one of the first movies I did. I mean, I love the legacy. I love that people really love that movie. I love it when they dress up as [my character] Hutch. It's cool.

What's your favorite franchise and, if you had your pick, what major franchise would you want to be a part of?

Fogler: I love Star Wars, that's what I grew up watching — the first three. My favorite is The Empire Strikes Back, and I would love to be some kind of smuggler with Han Solo. That would be really fun. But between that and Raiders of the Lost Ark, that covered a lot of my childhood.

So what are you working on next?

Fogler: I got the run on The Walking Dead, and I got my comic books — Moon Lake, Brooklyn Gladiator. And I am working on a couple different movies leading up the summer, when we start all over again with the third Fantastic Beasts. I'm having fun.

Are there any plans to turn those comics into movies?

Fogler: Yeah, I hope so. There's always talk about that. Moon Lake, we're trying to turn into a TV show. Brooklyn Gladiator, I would love for that to be a giant, Akira-sized dystopian anime. I think I would want to be the narrator in Moon Lake, who's like Hitchcock on acid. And then on Brooklyn Gladiator, to voice any of those characters would be cool. I love doing that stuff, animation.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is now available on Blu-ray, The Walking Dead airs Sundays on AMC, and The Goldbergs airs Wednesdays on ABC.

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