Move over Ron Weasley — there’s a new funny guy in the Potter-verse!
The first Harry Potter prequel, in a series of five, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hits theaters Friday and follows the life of magizoologist Newt Scamander — played by Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne — as he travels to New York with a peculiar case filled with magical creatures.
But the real fun comes from Dan Fogler’s character, Jacob Kowalski, a no-maj (the American word for Muggle or non-magic person) World War I vet who gets caught up in Scamander’s dangerous and magic filled adventures.
“I equate it to getting the golden ticket,” Fogler, 40, told PEOPLE about being cast as Jacob at the film’s New York premiere. “It’s like Willy Wonka, like I won the lottery. It’s that feeling of dreams can come true and it’s real.”
RELATED VIDEO: J.K. Rowling and Cast Talk “Fantastic Beasts”
Read on to find out more about the funny guy with an impressive resume!
1. He wore a homemade costume to his Fantastic Beasts audition
Fogler is willing to do almost anything when trying to land a role! The actor showed up to his audition for Jacob trying to look as much the part as possible. “I put a little costume together, made of what I thought Jacob would wear,” the actor told Pottermore. “Suspenders and cut-off hobo gloves and a patchy newsboy cap. I was very furry and shaggy. So, I went in and I felt really good about the audition.”
Although afterwards his agent told him not to get his hopes up too much, Fogler ended up getting the call that changed his life. “They were like, ‘Hey, you’ve got the part.’ It was amazing. It was life-changing right then and there. A bolt of lightning. It was just incredible, like everything that came before had been a dream.”
2. He’s a Tony winner!
The talented Brooklyn-born actor is no stranger to success — he’s already won a Tony. Fogler won the 2005 Best Featured Actor in a Musical award for his role in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Playing the role of William Barfée in the Broadway hit, Fogler became known for his comedic and acting talent.
3. He’s already rubbed shoulders with several A-listers in previous movies
Redmayne isn’t the only high-profile actor Fogler has shared the screen with as his resume is filled with roles in well known movies. He was one of the main characters in the Chris Pratt and Anna Faris 2011 80’s movie Take Me Home Tonight and starred opposite Jessica Alba and Dane Cook in 2007’s Good Luck Chuck. Fogler was also the lead role in 2007’s Balls of Fury opposite Christopher Walken.
Of his slow-building success, the actor told Pottermore: “You know what’s been interesting about my career? It’s been this slow rise with long plateaus. I’ve had time to taste fame but I definitely lean towards being the kind of actor where I’m happy to be able to walk down the street and go to the corner store and not get hassled. I don’t know what it’ll be like when [Fantastic Beasts] comes out. All I know is that I will try to be myself. I’ll probably just hunker down with my family and do some baking.”
4. He’s also a writer
Fogler co-wrote, co-directed and starred in 2014’s Don Peyote alongside Josh Duhamel, Anne Hathaway and Topher Grace and also published a comic book series called Moon Lake in 2010. He later ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for his second story Brooklyn Gladiator.
5. He Puts His Awesome Voice to Good Use
Fogler’s distinct gruff voice and Brooklyn accent has helped him land roles in animated films such as Kung Fu Panda, Horton Hears a Who! and Mars Needs Moms. The actor also voiced characters on TV shows like American Dad! and Robot Chicken, which probably means he will familiar to fans when Jacob Kowalski comes on screen.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — also starring Katherine Waterson, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell with a surprise Johnny Depp cameo — hits theaters Nov. 18.