Dan Fogler Talks His “Fantastic Beasts” Experience: “It’s a little magical. Pun absolutely intended.”

Kristian Harloff of Collider sat down with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’s Dan Fogler (Jacob Kowalski) to discuss everything from Star Wars to his graphic novel Brooklyn Gladiator to Fantastic Beasts. You can check out the video of their fun conversation on Collider’s website or download the podcast of it on iTunes, but here are some highlights from the interview if you don’t have time to watch or listen.

Harloff started by asking Fogler how he became involved in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. Fogler explained that he and his wife had just had a baby and he was thinking, “I need some stability.” Fogler discussed his audition process and how he felt good after each audition, which included what felt like “five million screen tests.” He got the call from his agent saying he’d booked the job while at San Diego Comic-Con, which he was attending to promote his book Brooklyn Gladiator. Dan said he “started floating” when he heard the news.

Harloff asked Fogler if he had to do any screen tests with the other actors before being cast.

I tested once with Eddie [Redmayne] and with Allison [Sudol]. [Eddie and I] finished the scene and it felt good, and no one said cut, and we just started improvising about our time in the war, and he’s like, ‘Do you like any animals?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, I used to have a puppy as a kid.’ You just saw it, the chemistry is working.

Fogler also discussed what it was like to meet and work with J.K. Rowling. He said his first meeting with her was “kind of sprung on [him] the first day of rehearsal.” Dan saw a huge stack of papers the first time he met her and Rowling said, “This is everything.” Dan took this to mean she had all five Fantastic Beasts movies on those papers. Does Rowling already have the entire movie series written, or if not written, outlined in detail?

Dan told a great story about how Rowling told him Jacob’s arc in the series.

I was like, ‘Oh my god, this is the greatest story I’ve ever heard’ and then on [the set of the second movie] I saw her and I was like, ‘Hey, I just wanted to check in on that story arc,’ and she’s like, ‘Oh, it’s all completely changed.’

Harloff asked if Rowling told him the changes.

No. I almost don’t want to know. It’s been marinating in her incredible, many-pocketed mind for decades now, this story, so she’ll come up with a storyline and just rewrite it.

Harloff expressed sadness that Colin Farrell wouldn’t be making an appearance in the second movie. Although Dan has a theory “that he’s locked away somewhere,” Harloff pointed out that, since Dan has a theory about it, it most likely means Farrell won’t be making a surprise appearance.

Harloff asked Fogler about his experience with director David Yates during the filming of the first movie. According to Fogler, Yates explained to the cast that, since there were no books on which to base the movies, the team was still finding the characters, leaving Fogler and the other actors with a lot of freedom. Dan said,“From day one, they said yes to 99% of my improvs and suggestions.” It was his idea to have a picture of Jacob’s grandmother in his bedroom, and some of his improvised lines made a huge difference:

‘I want to be a wizard.’ That was like the whole ad campaign for the first movie. That was improv!

Fogler and Harloff also talked a bit about the new Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald trailer and how we see wizards Apparating onto the Hogwarts grounds. Fogler explained that moments like this are exciting because fans will see that “this is the origin of everything [in Harry Potter].” Could Dan be hinting that we will actually see why this rule exists in Harry’s time?

Dan talked about his parents and how happy he was that they “got to see [his] success with the Fantastic Beasts films.” On his involvement in the series, Dan said, “I just thank my lucky stars every day. It’s a little magical. Pun absolutely intended.”

Gretchen Roesch

Gretchen once knew every word to the "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" movie. Now she uses that Ravenclaw brain power to manage the MuggleNet News Team, write articles, and podcast about "Harry Potter". Outside of the site, she is a long-distance runner, social worker, and baker. Gretchen hopes to one day pay off her student loans.