In an effort to thwart Grindelwald’s plans of raising pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings, Albus Dumbledore enlists his former student Newt Scamander, who agrees to help, unaware of the dangers that lie ahead. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family, in an increasingly divided world.
We spoke with one of the film’s stars Dan Fogler about Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which is in theaters this Friday.
The Knockturnal: Congrats on the film!
Dan Fogler: Thank you!
The Knockturnal: Do you ever feel like there’s any pressure, being an actor in Fantastic Beasts, the prequel to Harry Potter?
Dan Fogler: Oh my God, yes. The first movie was a lot of pressure just to get it right and not to mess it up. But this movie was, since the first one was successful, this one was a lot more comfortable and a lot less pressure so I had a lot of fun.
The Knockturnal: Because there isn’t a book series to Fantastic Beasts do you think that gives you more liberty for your character to be able to play around with him or do you think that narrows the scope?
Dan Fogler: No absolutely. I was surprised to see how much freedom they gave us. They really like us to add stuff, make it our own. In that first movie I just tried a lot of stuff, like right at the reading of the first movie I said that line, it;s in the speakeasy, when he [Jacob] says “House elves? Oh, I love house elves.” That’s where the line ended but I added “My uncle’s a house elf!” that’s hysterical right? So, you know you try stuff and if it works they’re like yeah it works.”
The Knockturnal: Do you think having a theatre background helped you improvise with that kind of stuff?
Dan Fogler: Yeah all that stuff, everything, and all the things I did leading up to getting the audition for this, I have to use all of those skills for this movie.
The Knockturnal: How was working with David Yates again?
Dan Fogler: Great, I think he really knows how to get a good performance out of me, probably the best work I’ve ever done. You know I come from the theatre, and so I’m always “playing to the back row” and so a lot of his direction to me is “I love it …take it down 75%” and I’m like “oohhh, okay…wait did you like it?” So yeah he knows how to tone me down”
The Knockturnal: Compared to the first movie, where you were introduced to all the Fantastic Beasts, do you think in the second film there were less visual effects that you had to pretend with or do you think there was more?
Dan Fogler: No I think there was the same amount, I was just less in awe of it. Like right away I go down trying to find Newt after Queenie leaves and I’m in Newt’s version of his zoo in London and I look at him and right away I’m just like ‘hey I got my own problems’ like that just says everything right? He’s just used to these creatures and he knows he’s going to see magical creatures. He’s more concerned with what’s going on with his heart.
The Knockturnal: So I know a lot of fans are definitely rooting for you and Queenie, with the way the first film ended, leaving us on a cliffhanger. What do you think the audience can expect, not just in this second film, but especially the way the second film ends and so on? Do you think that challenged you, character wise, from the first film to the second film, because your guy’s dynamics are different?
Dan Fogler: It’s great, like you really hope that, it’s exactly what you would hope would come with the sequel, the relationship is put under fire, literally. It’s stressed and it wouldn’t be much of an adventure if it was pretty much all easy. It’s like life.
The Knockturnal: What do you think drives Jacob to continue to pursue Queenie, even knowing that Wizards shouldn’t be dating Muggles?
Dan Fogler: I think that even with everything that comes along with Queenie, it’s a big thing between them, the fact that she can read his mind and it’s hard for him to live like that. Not be able to think the way you want to think, and luckily he’s a good person, and not being able to hear her thoughts is tough for him. I think that he pursues her because she’s an angel. He sees her and he’s like this is a 1 in a million thing for him, to find this women … he thinks of himself as this regular guy, and to have this extraordinary being be into him, he knows that’s a big blessing.
The Knockturnal: Do you think Jacob had to decide whether he would stick to love and pursuing Queenie [with the way this second movie ended] or do you think it was more friendship and his ties to Newt?
Dan Fogler: What I was playing at the last scene, you remember how this movie ends with all the good guys looking at Hogwarts all lined up looking towards Hogwarts and Jacob’s looking off the other way. What I was playing was, he’s hoping that she’s gonna have a change of heart and come back, and if she did come back he would forgive her.
The Knockturnal: Biggest character development or challenge you had from the first movie to the second one?
Dan Fogler: It’s just hard, you know it has to happen for the growth of the characters and for the story arc but it’s just hard to see these two characters that you love so much, ripped apart.
The Knockturnal: What adventure or what is something you’d want to see your character do?
Dan Fogler: I would love for Jacob to get a chance to use the wand or do something. But, even if it’s a funny scene where he like explodes backwards, cause I think there’s comic potential and even the possibility that it could awaken something in him that’s dormant. It’s pretty cool.
The Knockturnal: If you could, what other character would you want to play?
Dan Fogler: Oooo, you know what, I think I’d like to play Grindelwald. But I dunno about that contact lense though, in my eye, I don’t like that stuff, I have sensitive eyes.
The Knockturnal: Is it because you think it would challenge you as an actor or do you find that character really interesting?
Dan Fogler: Well it’s on the other side of the spectrum, Jacob is such a big heart and such a lovely guy. It’d be interesting to show other shades of what I can do.
The Knockturnal: Why do you think Jacob is so hesitant to be with Queenie? Is it because of the law or insecurity in his character?
Dan Fogler: I think that he’s such a practical guy, I think that’s what got him through the WWI and he knows that the best way, the best outcome for their relationship, just right in the moment is to avoid a battle with these laws of wizardry you know what I mean? That’s in so many relationships you have this type of conversation where you’re like ‘let’s not rock the boat, things are great right now’, and she has this burning desire, and she should, to say screw that I want to be able to live like, not under the spotlight of negativity, and it’s really valiant what she’s trying to do. I think he’s scared and he doesn’t want her to go to jail; he doesn’t want worse to happen to them. He wants a family with her, he wants kids but, those kids will be hunted down if they lived in America. He’s got ties to America, he’s got dreams that he wants to fulfill, it’s hard to just suddenly say “yeah let’s pick up and never come back to America again”. I think he’s just trying to be practical and not rock the boat, which is why she has to put that spell on him. She’s like “I’ll just get the spell on him and I’ll just take him to Europe and we’ll get married, we’ll come back and it’ll be like nothing happened!”
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is out in theatres November 16th!
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