Actor Dan Fogler, who portrays Jacob Kowalski in the Fantastic Beasts franchise — among many other parts — was in Belgium for a fan meet at Les 4 Maisons. We sat down with him for a fun interview.
Should you want to subject yourself to all the shenanigans, check out this video. Otherwise stick around for the text version and the giveaway, which is entirely happening on here.
Your character is probably the most well-developed muggle in the Wizarding World. How do you wish his story would continue, should there be another installment to the franchise?
Well, we certainly made enough money at the box office on the third one [The Secrets of Dumbledore] to warrant a fourth one. So that’d be nice. If we hold on a little longer I’m hopeful we’ll get to it.
If the fans nag enough?
(Laughs) Yes, that. And I think it would be really exciting. Because it’s leading up to the war [the first wizarding war]. I just imagine Jacob, with his new wand, running around on the battlefield. Because you know, he was in World War I and has experience with trench warfare. So now imagine trench warfare in the Wizarding World with dragons and stuff.
Well Newt [Scamander] was in the dragon division, so it’s entirely plausible.
Exactly! The iron bellies. So I just have this vision of Jacob running down a battlefield avoiding these magic blasts. Dragons flying over and Dumbledore and Grindelwald fighting each other up on a mountain. You know what I mean? That’d be frickin’ cool!
How do you feel you would react to magic being real versus how Jacob reacted?
Well, you know, magic is real. I would react how I usually react. (Laughs) I mean, I got this role by wishing on a star. I have had many miracles in my life, and many dreams come true. So I know what it’s like to witness magic.
How many of your own ideas about magic and your character, that were not scripted, did make it into the movie?
I actually did a lot of improv. Which was surprising. I was trying to improv on the first day and they were totally fine with it. I was told that we didn’t have novels to adhere to, Jacob is a new character and just have fun. So my favorite bit in the first movie was “my uncle is a house elf.” I love that bit, it’s really funny to me. Laughing at the giggle water. I try to sneak improvs into every scene if I can. My favorite one in the third movie was the entire breakfast scene in the Hogwarts Great Hall, that was very improvised.
Have you ever tried to make one of Jacob’s signature baked goods yourself?
We have not, but that’s genius! I’ve got two little girls at home, they’ve been baking. They make cookies and such. So maybe I’ll suggest making some Niffler muffins or something. That scene was very magical. Being in the bakery. And you know, they had some prop food, but a lot of it was real. So you got all the smells. Gosh, that was one of the first scenes we shot. Which is crazy, because that’s the last scene in the movie.
What if Jacob ended up in Belgium. What would be the first thing he did?
Just go for the chocolate. Visit a chocolate factory. He gets a niffler and tells it to grab all the shiny chocolate he can.
If you got to make up your own headcanon about Jacob. What would it be?
There’s a character called Quentin Kowalski, he’s an actual existing character. He’s a Quidditch player. He’s got the male version of Queenie’s first name (Queenie being Jacob’s wife) and Jacob’s last name. So that’s gotta be a grandson or something. So I like to imagine him as some amazing Quidditch star. Jacob sitting in the stands and cheering him on, shouting “that’s my grandson!” (Laughs) The pride in that. It’s kinda like reverse-engineering, you know. And then of course Jacob’s relation to Helga Hufflepuff.
Never Was has not one, not two, but three instax photos of, and signed by, Dan Fogler to give away. Meaning there can be three lucky winners! As well as the art card that was available to those attending the meet-and-greet at Les 4 Maisons, featuring art by Valentine Delrée and Hilde Heyvaert — who are also both behind this interview. (Even though Valentine gave being the disembodied voice a miss this time ’round).
How to enter: Post a comment here by July 1, telling us what you like best about the Fantastic Beasts franchise, and an innocent hand (read: a computer-generated program made for things like this) will draw three lucky winners. Winners will be notified the first week of July. The contest is open internationally. Winners will need to provide their address for us to mail them their prize. If you are a minor, ask a parent or guardian for permission to enter.
Prizes will be sent out via regular snail mail. Never Was cannot be held responsible if they are damaged or lost along the way!
Many thanks to Stan, the proprietor of Les 4 Maisons, for making this interview possible!