Dan Fogler is a man very hard to miss — his warm personality & contagious smile takes up all the space in the scenes he’s in, and he’s been on the entertainment scene since the late 90s. To say Fogler burst to fame in the 2017 Harry Potter prequel film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (in which he plays the lovable muggle Jacob Kowalski) would be to ignore the impressive scope of his career leading up to that special role.
Fogler has appeared on many TV shows over the years including Hannibal, American Dad!, M’Larky, Man Up, The Goldbergs, Secrets & Lies, and the most recent season of The Walking Dead. His filmography includes Good Luck Chuck, Balls of Fury, Fanboys, Barely Lethal, and voice work for Horton Hears a Who!, Kung Fu Panda, and Free Birds. The man is even a Tony Award winner — he earned the trophy in 2005 for his performance in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Yet somehow, amidst fighting zombies with Norman Reedus & dark wizards with Eddie Redmayne, Fogler manages to find time for his passion projects, like his podcast, The Dan Fogler 4D Xperience!, which covers everything from movies to TV to politics and more.
Ahead of Denver Pop Culture Con, TGON caught up with Dan Fogler to talk podcasts & more!
TGON: What inspired you to start this podcast?
Dan Fogler: I was watching a 4D movie — have you been to one? They’re really cool! The chairs move and there’s smoke effects — and I was like “Man, this is really fun, feel like a kid again.” You feel like you’re totally immersed in [the movie]. And then I thought, why don’t I record this? Make a podcast out of this? Eventually the 4D people actually gave us a sponsorship so they’re with us now, which is great.
TGON: Ya, the podcast is really reflective of the idea of being “immersed” in the action — it’s a really intimate experience, with you and your friends talking about your work, and other work! It feels like a behind the scenes look that we don’t usually get.
Dan Fogler: I try to interview people that I work with, so I’ve had a lot of Fantastic Beasts folks, like Eddie [Redmayne] and Alison [Sudol] and Zoe Kravitz. I’ve had Walking Dead people, I have an episode with Maggie Q coming up which will be lots of fun. We’re all just friends and it gets to a point where you forget that you’re doing an interview and you’re just having a conversation, and those are always the best parts.
TGON: What’s your favorite part of running this podcast?
Dan Fogler: Well my favorite part honestly is watching the movies! I like watching films and TV and obviously I’m an actor but I really just like being in that world. I like talking to my friends about it. The fact that I get to have my friends on, talk about movies, say whatever, uncensored… it’s awesome. And it’s a heightened version of my personality but it’s me and us just enjoying ourselves, it’s great.
TGON: The worlds of The Walking Dead and Fantastic Beasts are very different — how do you mentally prepare for each role?
Dan Fogler: The first thing I do is look at that character and think, “How is this person like me? How can I draw on my own experiences to bring this character to life?” With Jacob [from Fantastic Beasts], I felt really connected to him, like he’s a distant relative — my family grew up in New York, my grandfather was a baker, I feel like I really had him in my blood. And then you have all the external layers like the mustache and the costume that inform the character, and that helps a lot.
Luke [from The Walking Dead] is a different sort of character, but also very similar to me. He’s how I am at the heart, his sensibility is very similar. He’s got a heart of gold and *laughs*, I always associate teachers with those collared jackets with the patches on the elbows, and he still wears one in this post-apocalyptic world and it’s funny how little things like that suddenly become integral to that character.
TGON: You’re a part of 2 of the biggest fantasy worlds in media today, but if you could pick another world to be a part of which would it be?
Dan Fogler: I like all the fantasy worlds! Star Wars is at the top of my list, but if they wanted to reboot Back to the Future, I’d be happy with that! And if W.D. Richter ever wants to reboot The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai I would love a part in that!
TGON: In your free time between acting and hosting a podcast, which shows are you watching? Game of Thrones just ended but I know you were into that…
Dan Fogler: I was really into Game of Thrones! I had some opinions on the ending… but you know, recently I started getting into Fosse/Verdon with Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, and she’s going to win the Emmy for that, I just know it. And Stranger Things is good, that’s coming back. And I’m still working on catching up, I’m working on things like the first season of The Punisher.
TGON: Well I’m sure you’ll be seeing lots of things from all those shows and more at Denver Pop Culture Con this weekend! What’s your favorite thing about visiting conventions?
Dan Fogler: I like doing the panels. I miss doing stand up, and they kind of remind me of that because I get to be myself, and talk about me as me. People know me and they like me as my characters, but at cons people get to know me and like me as me, it’s a lot of fun.
Dan Fogler will be appearing at Denver Pop Culture Con 2019, which is made possible by Pop Culture Classroom. Pop Culture Classroom is an education initiative that aims to inspire a love of learning through pop culture and entertainment like films, television, games, comics, and more. Pop Culture Classroom inspires a love of learning, increases literacy, celebrates diversity and builds community through the tools of popular culture and the power of self-expression.