The name Patrick Fischler may not be be a household one, but if you're a fan of genre television and movies, you know his face. The 47-year-old actor has probably been in at least one of your favorite shows, and has an impressive resume that includes series like Lost, Once Upon a Time, Mad Men, Veronica Mars, Angel, Star Trek: Enterprise, Twin Peaks, and many, many others.
This year, Fischler appears in both the return of Twin Peaks as well as the Syfy adaptation of Grant Morrison's graphic novel Happy!, which just premiered. We got the chance to chat with Fischler about his career, and having an IMDB page that could put anyone else's to shame.
"What I do in the comic is nothing compared to what I do in the show." - Patrick Fischler on Happy!
In Happy!, Fischler plays Smoothie, an enforcer for a powerful mob boss who just so happens to be a sociopathic killer who loves to torture. Think the Joker, only less funny. The show focuses on an alcoholic, cynical ex-cop turned hitman (Chris Meloni), who—after being shot and left for dead—is revived while in the care of paramedics and can now see a small, blue, winged unicorn named Happy, the imaginary friend of a kidnapped little girl. The show is absolutely bonkers in the best way, and clearly Fischler loves being a part of something so unique.
"I love this show so much. It is by far the most insane thing I've ever done...and I'm not someone who hasn't been in some insane things. But this is next level for me," Fischler told us enthusiastically. "I remember reading the script and thinking 'this is unlike anything I've ever seen on TV.' Which is pretty hard nowadays, because there's 195 channels, and there is so much great television. It felt like they were taking Grant Morrison's comic and really putting it on screen. I read the comic and loved it, and realized 'this character is so screwed up, I want to be a part of this." And Smoothie, I've never really played anybody like him, and the pilot episode is just a taste of what is to come. And what I do in the comic is nothing compared to what I do in the show."
With so many comic book adaptations on TV, what sets Happy! apart? To Fischler, it's all in the visual presentation. "To take a comic and put it on television, it often doesn't really look like a comic book, it just looks like a TV show. But we really look like a comic book," Fischler told us. "I really feel like we nailed that. If you love the comic, you'll love the show, but we expand a lot from those four issues. I've been in this business for 25 years, and this is hands down the best group of people I've ever worked with. The entire cast and crew is amazing, and Patton Oswalt, (who provides the voice of Happy), just ties it all together beautifully."
Aside from Happy!, 2017 was a big year for Fischler on other fronts, reuniting him with his Mulholland Drive director David Lynch for the long awaited return of Twin Peaks. But making this new Peaks was unique compared to all of his other acting roles. Fischler said getting the role of Duncan Todd, "was a shock, to get this call to be in Twin Peaks. And they came to my door to bring me my script pages, so I only saw the scenes I was in. I asked 'how does this all tie in?' and they wouldn't tell me. Truly, what I performed was all I knew. I barely even worked with any of the other actors! But it was an incredible, great experience."
Fischler and Lynch, of course, go back to his role in Lynch's Mulholland Drive, which came out in 2001. "I love David Lynch in a way where words are not enough, and I really mean that. I loved doing Mulholland Drive with him, it was the greatest experience I've had in film, easily. And I will throw myself into whatever he says because I trust him. The word 'auteur' is often thrown around when it's not justified, but auteur isn't a big enough word for what David Lynch is. We are all so lucky he's still making stuff for us all to see."
The process of getting Lynch's film to theaters was an odd one, as it began as a TV pilot. Fischler was cast for it back when it was going to be a series, telling us "I shot it as an ABC Pilot, I thought this was going to be a TV show like Twin Peaks. But somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought 'there's no way this is going to end up being a network TV show.' And when ABC didn't pick it up, we all got this letter from David Lynch, where he told us that Studio Canal was giving him money to finish it as a feature film, and then I went back and shot this little moment where I look back at Naomi Watts in the diner. But think about it -- it got saved. It turned into this huge thing. And when I was in New York shooting Happy!, I got stopped daily for Mulholland Drive, especially by college students who had just seen it. And so much of my performance comes straight from David."
"I only saw the scenes I was in. I asked 'how does this all tie in?' and they wouldn't tell me. Truly, what I performed was all I knew." - Patrick Fischler
So, of all his projects, is Mulholland Drive what he gets recognized and stopped by on the street by fans the most? "My wife and I laugh, and we whisper to each other 'what project does this person recognize me from?' as they approach me on the street, based on their look. It becomes a game. I would say at this point, it goes Mulholland Dr, then Mad Men, and surprisingly, but not really, Once Upon A Time."
"When I take my daughter to an amusement park it's Once I get recognized the most for," Fischler explained. "And during the time right after Lost, it was that show I got recognized a lot for. But a lot of frat type guys come up to me and tell me they love Old School."
You can catch Happy! Wednesday nights at 10PM on Syfy. Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series is now available on Blu-ray.
What's your favorite Patrick Fischler performance? Be sure to let us know down below in the comments.
Looking For More Nerdy News?
- Watch the trailer for Happy! right here.
- Read our review of the new Twin Peaks Blu-ray here.
- And finally, here's our first look at Dark Phoenix.
Images: Syfy / Showtime / Universal