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Old 10-29-2016, 10:22 PM
masterofmystery masterofmystery is offline
Post 'Fantastic Beasts' Dan Fogler discusses Jacob & Newt's bond, 'sad clown' ending, more

In the latest of set visit interviews for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, actor Dan Fogler started off by explaining how there's a beauty and significance of being a main character without magical powers, as he portrays No-Maj Jacob Kowalski, newfound best friend of lead magizoologist, Newt Scamander.

On the Leavesden Studios Fantastic Beasts set back in December 2015, Fogler - who was one of two of the cast members SnitchSeeker and other reporters met head to toe dressed in costume, as he had a night zoo scene to shoot with Eddie Redmayne later that day - chatted at length about Jacob and Newt's close friendship, how he found himself in the midst of magical creatures, and his growing relationship with Queenie Goldstein.

Fogler did tease that things might look grim for the No-Maj baker, as Jacob, according to the actor, was set to have a "sad clown" ending, and was not meant to stay in the Wizarding world for long. This may not hold true, though, as J.K. Rowling already hinted that Jacob will be featured in sequel(s) to come.

So, your character is the first time we're getting a muggle or No-Maj in any sort of prominent way. Well, the Dursleys were not the best representatives . So, is that kind of just exciting for you to get to really open up the series to get to know-- what is the human-non-magic perspective in all of this?
Right, right. I kind of equate it to Bottom from A Midsummer Night's Dream. You know, he's a baker, he's a rude mechanical, regular kind of guy. We find out he's not such a regular schmo. As the thing goes along, we realize he's really quite unique. But he, just like Bottom, gets to play in the forest with Titania and the fairies. And he gets to play the hero and the romantic lead and the comedic maniac . So, yeah.

What do you think it is about your character that makes it so that he can so easily adapt into this world? Because a lot of No-Majs would see what's happening and just like run away...
Yeah, he's incredibly optimistic and I think that he's back from World War I, so, he's seen some monsters, he's seen some chaos and so, he's kind of desensitized in that regard. And he's also the kinda guy that's so loyal like he is super loyal. So, I felt like when he was in the war, they gave him an order and he just-- no matter what it was or how ridiculous it was, he did it.

He focused on it and he put his intention on it and he just finished it no matter how hard it was. So, then you bring this character who's like this lovable guy that's been through hell, who really doesn't have anybody and then, suddenly he has this motley crew of a family. And for the first part of it, he thinks he's dreaming. He can't believe that (chuckles) any of this is going on and then he slowly realizes, whoa, he's not normal. This is real, you know. And I think that he's such a loyal guy that no matter what happens to these people-- No matter how magical or fanciful or ridiculous, he's just gonna stick with them to the end, you know.

You sound like you have a lot of background knowledge on your character. Did you talk to David Yates or J.K. Rowling about that or is this just something that you personally connect with?
When I first read it, you know, it takes place in New York in the twenties which is something that I was already... If I could make a movie, I'd love to make a (chuckles) movie in New York in the twenties and my great grandfather was a baker so I feel like I'm just basically playing someone who could be my ancestor. And he's such a classic Joseph Campbell, archetypical. He's the baker, which is like the baker in any fairytale.

He's the guy that has to deal with the witches and the wolves. I did “Into The Woods” when I was in high school. This looks like it could be a beautiful black and white movie, so, we put a lot of Abbott and Costello and Chaplin and homages to all of these great black and white characters and Cagney who actually played Bottom. So, I just took all these different things and put 'em into the character. Just from day one I was like, this is my interpretation. I hope you like it. And they did.

I notice your tie is cropped. Is that a signature flare for the character?
This is the tip of the hat to Laurel and Hardy . I think he had a tie like this and we only see it maybe once in the movie. I undo the vest, but yeah, you know. I wasn't caught in a creature’s mouth or something--

What can you say about your dynamic with the other characters and what you really bring to the group?
I see is kind of like the origin story of Sherlock and Watson. That's also a classic, iconic pairing. It's Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. It's pulling from these-these classic, iconic archetypes. And so, Eddie's coming in-- he's a fish out of water. He's really the only British character in New York in the film... one of the only. He's very cerebral and you know, Charles Darwin when all of-- with, you know, with all these little creatures and large creatures that he's dealing with and I’m the blue-collar guy who knows the streets.

So, we balance each other out in that regard. I bring obviously the comedy. There’s a lot of heart. He gets swept up in this whole world, he falls in love with it. And but then he can't stay. And it's really quite heartbreaking. Yeah. So, I love characters like this-- Sad clowns, man. You get to play the full gam- you know, the full spectrum of emotions in one part-- Can't ask for anything more as an actor.

It seems like there's a lot of tension between the No-Maj and the wizards in this movie. So, what about your character, you think makes it possible for him to balance the two worlds instead of being divided?
Right. Well, he's been away and now he's back and I think he's such a kid at heart and so, he takes all the magic with a grain of salt. And yes, in New York, the climate is that they do not want No-Majs to be mixing with the wizards and the witches. If that does happen, the whole thing will just unravel. It's a very delicate situation and they're constantly trying to hide it from the muggles--the No-Majs. And so, they take it very seriously. The MACUSA is cracking down on any kind of magical happenings around the city. So, when I come in, I get bitten by one of these things.

Is that the mark on your neck?
That's the mark on my neck. And I guess a No-Maj has never been bitten by one of these things. So, they're like what's gonna happen? You know, is he going to die? So, they feel very responsible for me in the beginning 'cause they're just worried about me. (laughs) And my well-being which is very nice. So, they're dragging me along through their adventure and over the course of it I prove to be very helpful individual. I help them recapture these creatures. And you know, often come up with the idea that gets them out of the hairy situation and so, over the course of the film they become friends.

Is there a particular beast that your character's either fond of or even more so terrified of than the one that bites him?
Yeah. He becomes very friendly with the Demiguise. I guess the Demiguise is really quite hard to catch because it can tell the future. So, you have to be very unpredictable to catch, and for some reason there's something in Jacob's nature that lets it feel that I'm not a threat. So, there's these really sweet moments where like the like, chaos is happening and this **** has us going up in flames and the Demiguise looks to me and is just like, .

I'm like, "Come here, pal. It's okay." They're sweet. There's a scene in the movie where this really, rather large elephant slash rhinoceros kind of creature is in heat. And we're trying to coax it back into it's enclosure with this hormone musk. And I spill it all over myself. You know, cut to me running from this enormous thing that's trying to have its way with me. That was pretty scary.

What's it like not only being a part of the Harry Potter universe and world now, but also been working with some of the filmmakers that created that and built that in the first place?
Yeah, I went to the museum. It's epic. And you see that David Heyman and David Yates and they're in the videos and you know, you see what a juggernaut is and then you see how incredibly just nice everybody is and when you've had that much success, you can afford to be really (laughing) nice to people. It's a really great working environment. David Yates is fantastic he's just like-- there's no ego, he’s just totally humble, he's open to suggestions, and he uses them a lot and -I'm not used to that in like a big, you know--

This is the biggest thing I've worked on but with stuff with special effects and to take someone's suggestions when it comes to special effects and you know how much has to get into it. And they're just so open. It just makes for a really great playground and everyone just feels so safe to participate. And he's you know, he's juggling so much and he does it so gracefully. The best-case scenario, really is right now.

You've spoken about a couple of scenes filming with imaginary, fantastic beasts... What's your secret to a really convincing green screen or imaginary scene where there's nothing there, what are your tricks for that?
It's really simple just four years of acting school... and loads of black box theater. It's just watching Roger Rabbit over and over and over again. Yeah. When you're doing theatre, a lot of it is just imagining and stuff is there that isn't there and then you just have to get really good about giving it weight and distance and speed and it's crazy. It's like you're doing invisible physics in your head. But yeah, you really gotta work at it.

I'm curious. Does your character have an accent?
Yeah, he's got like maybe like a Brooklyn accent, yeah. I mean it's very similar to what I'm doing-- No, I mean, this is me. I'm puttin' the dial a little bit for his accent in the movie but they heard me speak on day one. They were like, "We like it."

Were there any actors or characters from older or modern movies that you may be borrowed from or took inspiration from for this?
Yeah. There are definitely moments of Lou Costello. There are definitely moments of Cagney, and those guys are very Brooklyn-y, you know. Who else? Chaplin doesn't speak. Well, he does in the “Great Dictator” but -- Yeah, no, really, just those guys.

Okay, can you talk about your character's relationship with Queenie at all?
Yeah. It's love at first sight. He sees her and he doesn’t know if it's just the magic in the air or there's something about her that's just like they were meant to be together but they're not allowed to be together, you know.
Read SnitchSeeker's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them set visit reports right here, including about the great things the cast said about Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, and how 1926-era New York City came to life.

Fandango - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Tickets

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