Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Rafael Casal isn’t necessarily who you’d go to if you were casting a stereotypical Nickelodeon villain. The up-and-coming actor and renowned slam poet starred in the critically acclaimed Blindspotting last year with pal Daveed Diggs before popping up in the forthcoming Bad Education, which just sold to HBO for big bucks at the Toronto International Film Festival.

That’s kind of why his casting as Mr. Tophat in the new Are You Afraid Of The Dark mini-series is brilliant, though. Casal got the gig through his buddy BenDavid Grabinski, who penned the new Are you Afraid Of The Dark miniseries, and brings real depth and age-appropriate terror to the series. He’s sharp and creepy, and brings the project the weight his character’s Slender Man-esque name might otherwise have taken away.

The A.V. Club sat down with Casal on the set of the new Are You Afraid Of The Dark, where we talked about thrills, chills, and how psyched is he to be creeping out kids in grocery stores for years to come.

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