“I’m a nerd and at any given moment, my wife has to be careful, because I feel like sometimes I might explode.”
David Dastmalchian grew up on comics. DC, Marvel, horror, you name it, he bought it. Now, at 35, he’s infiltrated the world in nearly every way possible: on TV, film and with his very own comic book, "Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter."
And with roles in the MCU, the upcoming "Suicide Squad" sequel and a "Dune" remake, he knows he’s living every nerd’s dream … including his own.
His first big break was a role in Christopher Nolan’s "The Dark Knight" back in 2008, where he played one of The Joker’s most memorable followers.
"I was doing theater in Chicago, I was still going to my comic shop every week in Chicago, dreaming of someday working in movies, dreaming of bridging the gap between comics and film and entertainment and then I was standing on the set of Christopher Nolan’s vision of Batman, next to one of the greatest, — if not the greatest — incarnations of The Joker we’ve ever seen through performance," Dastmalchian recalled when we caught up with him at Comic-Con.
"And since then, it’s honestly been a whirlwind," he noted. "[11 years later] I have a wife, two kids now, I have a life in film and television, I’ve written a comic book and every-time I step on set it definitely doesn’t lessen the impact."
What followed his "Dark Knight" breakout were gigs in Denis Villeneuve’s "Prisoners" and "Blade Runner 2049," Peyton Reed’s two "Ant-Man" films as tech whiz Kurt, work on both "Twin Peaks" and "MacGuyver" and bad guy roles in "Gotham" and "The Flash."
"Each time something like that would happen … I’d be like, ‘Okay, David, that was it. You’ve maxed out. You’ve hit the jackpot,’" he recalled thinking, "and then, shit, another thing will happen."
Dastmalchian said that he knows "life has been very good" to him, something he credits to sobriety and a solid support system. The actor has been open about his past drug use, a subject he wove into his directorial debut, "Animals," and his new comic.
"17 years, clean and sober this year, so anybody watching that doesn’t think it’s possible, it is," he told TooFab. "I can tell you that I’m very excited about the year ahead … it’s a dream and it’s possible and I think surrounding yourself with people who support you and who believe in you and who want the best for you is where to start and then learning to take care of yourself and really care about yourself is so vital and I’m just pinching myself right now."
One of those people who’s really supported him is Villeneuve, who also cast David as Piter De Vries in the star-packed reimagining of "Dune." Also starring in the film: Zendaya, Timothee Chalamet, Dave Bautista, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Jason Momoa.
"That he would call me and say I want you to be Piter De Vries, a very important character in that universe, it was earth shattering," said the actor. "I’m a nerd and at any given moment, my wife has to be careful, because I feel like sometimes I might explode."
He also said the movie, which reportedly just wrapped filming, "is going to blow your minds."
Up next for David? Oh, nothing big, just a "Suicide Squad" film, his comic launch and, most likely, more movies in the ever-expanding MCU. While he wouldn’t spill anything about James Gunn’s DC film — in which he’ll reportedly play Polka-Dot Man — Dastmalchin did reveal a few shockers about his Marvel future.
"I’m allowed to give away one tip … Kurt, the character I play in the Ant-Man movies — it’s an undisputed fact that he’s probably the most popular character in the MCU — is getting his own movie and TV series through Marvel," he said.
"Feige and everyone else have been really excited for years about the Kurt movie, it’s just called ‘Kurt,’" he continued. "They’re not actually doing any other films for the next couple years. There’s no other comic book properties, they feel like they’ve done that, they really hit the ceiling there. We’re getting into a really neat character thing about this guy, where the hair came from, tattoos. You’re welcome."
Okay, so he was clearly joking there and those Phase Four plans are still very much happening, but David is excited to see where Kurt and the Ant-Man crew will go next. At the moment, there are no announced plans for another sequel, which likely wouldn’t hit until Phase Five.
Dastmalchian says he’s seen "Ant-Man and the Wasp" resonate with a lot of kids, which he hopes "means there’s a whole new generational audience" for future films and his character.
"He’s a master of the tech and the computers and he could be useful a lot of places," he added. "I think he could be a valued asset elsewhere. Who knows, we’ll see."
In October, Dastmalchian will release his first comic book, "Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter," about a superhero whose cover story is an Elvira-type horror movie hostess.
Noting he’s been "thinking about and dreaming about" the character of Jerri Bartman since he was a kid, he said she was also shaped by his experiences as an adult as well … especially in 2019.
"I became a grownup and started dealing with all different issues and I live in a society that feels fraught with monsters, so I wanted to find a way I could take my love of monsters and interject that with the things I’m wrestling with, struggling with," he explained. "I’m having a difficult time in 2019, every time I turn on the news, not being like, ‘How is no one else seeing some of these things that are happening?’"
"She’s an alcoholic, she struggles with addiction," he added, saying it’s up to Jerri to "stop sabotaging herself" and learn "how to take care of herself."
"It’s a dream for me," he said of creating his own book. Saying he got "tears in my eyes" when he finally saw her come to life via artist Lukas Ketner’s drawings, Dastmalchian also said the comic’s upcoming release is both a "very bizarre" and "incredible feeling."
The first issue of "Count Crowley: Reluctant Midnight Monster Hunter" drops October 23.
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