Dan Fogler Enjoying Newfound Fame in the Wizarding and Zombie Apocalypse Worlds

Dan Fogler has quickly risen to the top of many wizarding world fans’ lists of characters they’d most like to bear hug since first appearing as the affable Jacob Kowalski in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Since that release, Fogler has landed roles in four television series, one TV movie, and five feature films, including, of course, last year’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Prior to 2016, he had a bevy of other film and television credits dating back to 1999 on his IMDb docket. In 2005, Fogler received a Tony Award in the Best Featured Actor in a Musical category for his portrayal of William Barfée in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

All that considered, it’s strange that apart from those who recognized him from the 2009 flick Fanboys or random episodes of The Goldbergs, Fogler was still largely anonymous before bringing Kowalski to life.

Now, however, he’s become known to a whole new group of fantasy lovers through his role as Luke on AMC’s The Walking Dead. Fogler’s character, a former music teacher, injects Hufflepuff heart and a healthy dose of Gryffindor courage into the group of nomadic survivors he inhabits. Luke is as optimistic as he is likable, and as such, Fogler has once again become a fan favorite.

Fogler spoke with South China Morning Post this week about his newfound lofty status in the genre, starting with the saving grace that was Fantastic Beasts.

It was such a huge job for me. I was at the point in my career where I was like, ‘I need a miracle!’

Fogler made his Walking Dead debut November 4, 2018, in the fifth episode of ongoing Season 9 and says he approached his latest role much the way he did Kowalski: by keeping in mind he was entering a realm that already came equipped with a fan base of millions.

Coming into ‘The Walking Dead’ was interesting because I felt part of a gigantic global franchise. I’m a fan of the comic book and the characters, and I really wanted to do a good job for the fans – the same as ‘Fantastic Beasts’, where there was a lot of pressure to do a good job for the fans. So when things turned out OK for that movie, it was a huge relief. By the second movie, I knew what I was doing and had the support of the fans, which felt good.

Fogler also says he’s enjoying the fact that while many characters he’s portrayed could be seen as the comic relief, Luke’s sense of hope and determination to hold on to the threads that still tie the survivors to their humanity is significant. For example, the character is known to risk his life to save abandoned musical instruments.

He hopes he is still going to find a place to settle down and be able to teach again. That’s why he collects all the instruments. That idea is very noble, but crazy and so tragic, considering the situation. It’s nuts, but you have to appreciate it – he thinks he’s doing it for a very noble cause, to maintain the sanity of the human race.

With another movie – Spinning Gold, which explores the founding and rise of 1970s disco and rock music label Casablanca Records – in preproduction, Fogler is looking forward to continuing to challenge himself as an actor while appreciating the fan adoration he’s recently found.

I’m at a point in my career where everything leading up to this has basically prepared me for this moment, and I’m just trying to do the best I can.