By Joe Milone.
Recently, I had the chance to chat with the Director of the upcoming movie Hysterical Psycho and creator of Archaia’s Moon Lake, Dan Fogler.
Joe Milone: How did you decide to get involved in Acting?
Dan Fogler: Going Back to the beginning huh?
JM: Yeah, I figure we’ll start with acting and then bring it back to the comic world.
DF: How I got started? I basically… well, I always knew from a little kid. I was really into watching Looney Toons and cartoons in general. Really young, I loved imitating the voices and drawing, even making the little characters out of clay. And I thought that I wanted to do something in the arts. I’m so right brained, you know…
DF: Then I was the class clown. I’d make my friends laugh and do impressions for them, and then I did my first school play in the sixth grade. From then on, I was really bitten by the theater bug. I did all the plays and musicals in High School and went to college, Boston University, for acting, and then I guess the rest is history.
JM: That’s really cool. I know you were in a few feature films like Fan Boys and Balls of Fury. But before you did that, I know you won a Tony for your role on Broadway for the 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee.
DF: Yeah, that really jump started my career. That was cool because I created my character and I was there for the whole journey, from its inception to off off off off off Broadway, to off off off Broadway.
DF: You know, all the way to eliminating all the “offs” and then finally getting there. That was a trip man; it was really cool. It was amazing that something I created actually helped me get through the door, and like I said, really jump started my career.
JM: Yeah, I mean you got to create the character from the ground up, and then it must have been such a thrill to be up on that stage accepting and award.
DF: Yeah man, it was like a dream come true. It was a major turning point in my life.
JM: So it was definitely a big step from watching and imitating Looney Toons to accepting a Tony Award.
DF: Yeah, I guess so, yeah.
JM: Speaking of your movie roles, what was it like working with Christopher Walken on Balls of Fury?
DF: Walken was… that was the best thing about that for me, just hanging out with him the whole time. You know, everyone imitates him all around the world, like everybody and their grandmothers imitate him. We would all get together, all the comedians on the set would get together and go into the shadows and do our impressions of him. And then he would walk up and be like (In Walken voice) “Hey what you doin’ fellas?” And then we would all be like “shhhh!” and scamper off. And Walken would be like (back to Walken Voice), “What?”
DF: (Laughs) But yeah, I would just ask him like, stuff just to hear him talk.
JM: That’s exactly what I would do. I would be like, could you just read this for me?
JM: Then of course, you were very popular in the movie Fan Boys. I thought that was a very entertaining movie. So how big of a Rush fan are you?
DF: Oh yeah, I got into Rush from the movie actually. But I heard that is the band of choice for playing role playing games. But a lot of people dig Rush. You know what was crazy was that, like right up until the last moment, it was Journey.
JM: Oh really?
DF: Yeah, it was the band of choice, so I was getting into Journey, (laughs) you know all the way up into it. I was really digging on Journey. Then they were like, “Sorry, it’s Rush.”
JM: You know, for me, Rush is definitely the cooler band.
DF: Sure, man.
JM: Journey does make sense in the context of the movie, where you guys are actually, you know, actually making a journey.
DF: Yes exactly, but at the time it really came down to who was going to be like, “Yes, I will be in your movie.” So that’s just how it is. (laughing)
JM: The writers have one idea and then it’s like, “By the way, no rights to that. So let’s move along.” But that was a cool movie, lots of cool guest stars. It must have been cool to interact with all the Star Wars Folk and Seth Rogan.
DF: Sure man, that was right before Seth really blew up, and we would hang out at the hotel and there wasn’t much to do in Albuquerque, that’s why Bugs Bunny was always referring to Albuquerque as some place he took a left at, you know.
JM: I can imagine.
DF: It was wild out there, and there wasn’t much to do, and we would go out and find these little festivals that would happen in the middle of the desert, and all these people would drive up in their trucks selling their wares. And we’d go out and a lot of people were selling like katana blades and Shurikens.
JM: So basically you could have some ninja fights if you wanted to in Albuquerque?
DF: Definitely! Jay Baruchel came back from Albuquerque, and he was stopped at the border of Canada because he had just one duffel bag of katana blades, sai’s and Shurikens, and they weren’t allowed to bring, and I can account for that man.
JM: That’s crazy. You know, I moved from NYC to New Port Richey, Florida. So I can imagine that New Port Richey is a lot like Albuquerque. Make a left at new at Port Richey and keep going to Tampa.
DF: Yeah, yeah. (Laughs). Just don’t eat the green chili man, whatever you do. When you go to Albuquerque, just don’t eat it.
JM: Special ingredient in that one?
DF: I’m just saying…It comes from a factory called The Hatch, and the proximity is way close to Area 51 out there. I’m just saying….
JM: Possible alien stew?
DF: I didn’t say it! But they put that baby green chili with everything out there. They give you a little side of it with your ice cream sundae. They’re like, “Green chili, sir?” And you’re like, “Nooooo.”
JM: No green chili for me, thank you very much. So after that movie you did a voice in Kung Fu Panda?
DF: Yeah, I did a voice in that. I was Zeng, the messenger goose in Kung Fu Panda. And also did Horton Hears a Who. I did a couple of voice in that. I was a crazy gorilla, the leader of the monkeys, and I was also the leader of the Who’s, the Chairman.
JM: I always say, you can never go wrong with monkeys.
DF: Hell no man, supposedly we came from monkeys.
JM: Right, so we got that going for us.
DF: Hell yeah, animal strength and proportions. What about that guy… have you been watching that Stan Lee show? You know the amazing people around the world, Stan Lee’s you know, mutants around the world? There was that monkey guy. He could climb the walls with his arms even on very flat surfaces. It’s amazing.
JM: Yeah, that Stan Lee show is quite incredible. It’s interesting that he’s involved with that show, but it’s quite fitting and perfect.
DF: Yeah, he’s searching the world for mutants to make his own X-Men. Real live X-Men. He’s going to be Professor X.
JM: Stan Lee is definitely going to take over the world. People doubted him, but now he has proof that mutants exist and we’d better watch out.
DF: Exactly, dude.
JM: Speaking of comics, why don’t you tell us about your project at Archaia?
DF: I strongly recommend working with Archaia– they are very creator friendly. I directed this movie called Hysterical Psycho. It will be out soon, around Halloween time. It’s like “Hitchcock Presents” on acid, meets Evil Dead. I wanted to make a franchise out of it, and a great way to do it would be to go through the comic realm and then back through to movies and TV. So that became Moon Lake, and that’s the universe that Hysterical Psycho takes place in. These kids go up to this region up north, which is inherently evil called Moon Lake, and it’s been that way since the beginning of time. It’s a crossroad; a lot of universes converge there. Parallel universes, worm holes from evil places, go there. It’s kind of a grand central station for all this. It kind of becomes the battle ground for the end of the world. We have all these stories from the prehistoric time to the present time that you can tell from Moon Lake. So that’s Moon Lake. That’s the graphic novel that’s coming out, and it will be ready for New York Comic Con. It’s an anthology which is like my baby. It’s kind of like “The Twilight Zone” on THC; it’s really cool.
JM: Did you pick the creators that are working on the stories?
DF: Archaia gave me their suggestions,and as everything was filtered my way, being creator friendly, I was a good audience for all these people. We got a fantastic ensemble together. Some people who work usually with Archaia, and some people who want to work with Archaia. I was told by R.H. Stavis, a writer who created one of the characters for Moon Lake, suggested to work with Archaia because they are really creator friendly and really classy.
JM: Were you a fan of comic books growing up?
DF: Yeah, I loved comic books when I was a kid. I had a lot of toys, Transformers, GI Joe and all that. And like I said, I loved to draw, so I really came into comics from that point of view. I loved the art. But as I got older, my tastes matured. I just fell in love with the story telling. And of course, being someone who wanted to get into movies and film, making my own comics, I used to make little budget comic books with my brother when I was growing up, and I would draw them and make up little stories. It was basically like storyboarding a movie; they’re kind of cousins essentially. And creating characters and playing the Marvel Game, you know which was like playing Dungeons and Dragons with the Marvel characters. That basically tells you to go out and make your own characters with the rules of the universe, so that’s like two steps away from creating your own universe.
JM: Yeah, I used to play that game with my friends as well. But for some reason, I guess maybe I didn’t roll well enough, but my characters always sucked.
DF: (laughing) Well the idea behind that was you had to make most of their abilities amazing to unearthly, and then you could rock that game.
JM: Right, because if you weren’t unearthly, then you couldn’t lift Thor’s hammer and you were screwed.
DF: (Laughs) Exactly.
JM: So you are going to be appearing at the NY Comic Con this year?
DF: Oh yeah, that’s my home town so I’ll be there signing. We’re going to have a party and we’re going to do a panel with a live radio show and reading parts of the book with my theater company Stage 13. And we’ll be giving away copies of the book there. And then we’re having a free viewing of the movie Hysterical Psycho, so that will be pretty cool too.
Dan Fogler will be appearing at the New York Comic Con October 8th to 10th 2010 where advance copies of Moon Lake will be available. Look for Moon Lake in Store in Late October.