Alexandra Daddario has earned a lot of widespread notice in a short amount of time as an actress. She has landed roles on the popular television programs New Girl and Parenthood. She has shown up on the big screen in projects like the Percy Jackson franchise. In 2014 Alexandra Daddario’s career truly skyrocketed when she appeared in several episodes of HBO’s hit drama, True Detective.
Every male that watched Detective can’t help but remember Alexandra’s revealing scenes with her co-star, Woody Harrelson. Those scenes obviously titillated audiences but Alexandra was able to prove that she was more than just an attractive girl with her work on the cable drama. True Detective was jam packed with great actors on top of their games and Alexandra’s performance was definitely not lost in the midst of all the greatness.
Her star making turn in Detective lead to her earning a lead role in the blockbuster film San Andreas. We spoke to Alexandra Daddario about her start in the industry, San Andreas and her thoughts on her career.
Photos By: Tommy Garcia
Your parents were both lawyers. Did you ever receive any pressure from them to follow in their footsteps?
No, actually. My mother always told me, ‘don’t become a lawyer.’ I’m not sure why that is. They are very liberal and they wanted me to be happy. There was pressure for me to do well in school, because they got to where they are because of education. They were very supportive of me, and whatever I wanted to do.
When did you know you wanted to pursue an acting career?
I was very young when I started acting…like 10 or 11. I would do commercials as an extracurricular activity…and I would go on auditions and stuff. I booked a soap opera when I was around 16 (All My Children). Some time around then I realized it was something I could do as a career. I could go to work everyday and get paid for it. I started to realize it was an actual career path and not just something you would do for fun.
Your part in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief was your first major film role back in 2010. What was that experience like for you?
I was nervous. I was also prepared for something like that in a strange way. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I couldn’t believe I was part of something so big. The movie was massive…the sets were massive. For the first couple of weeks I was like, ‘they are going to fire me.’ It was very surreal but it was very exciting.
True Detective was an enormous show and it sparked a lot of excitement in viewers. Were you able to watch the show and enjoy it the way so many others did? Or was it hard to separate yourself from the project because of your involvement with it?
I did watch it. It was easy for me to watch and enjoy it because I wasn’t in every episode. My part wasn’t that large and I wasn’t in every episode of the show. I purposely didn’t read the last four [scripts] of the show. I wanted to go on that journey with the audience. It is hard if you are in something a lot to watch it…it’s hard to be objective about it. It’s hard to watch yourself and that can be a strange experience. But I wasn’t in it that much and I was able to be objective.
How did you land a role in San Andreas?
I auditioned for it and then read for the director. It was pretty soon after True Detective aired and I booked it in early March. It was exciting to book such a big job after True Detective.
What made you decide to audition for the film? What attracted you to the project?
It was a really strong role and I really liked the character. There were actors that were cool to work with…it was cool to work with Dwayne Johnson. There were things I had never done before. There was water tank work and there were stunts I had never done before. We shot in Australia and I had never been to Australia. The food is really good on big movies—the catering is great because they have more money (laughs).
San Andreas has a lot of special effects and action throughout the film. Is it easy to get distracted by the spectacle when you are making a movie like that? Do you have a hard time focusing on your character?
In my opinion, whether the budget is 100 million dollars or a million dollars, you are trying to create a true authentic character. Where is this person at in their life? Whether there is an earthquake in the movie or it’s a smaller movie about a break-up—it’s your job as an actor to find the truth in a character.
What kinds of projects are you hoping to do more of in the future?
I want to work with great people. There are so many different things I am attracted to for different reasons. I am attracted to great characters. I am of course interested in trying something I haven’t tried before. There are so many different things I want to try.
At some point you have to play a superhero right? Have you ever thought about that?
Sure! There is something really relatable about all the superhero stories really. A person that is extradinary even though they may not appear that way at first—like Superman and Clark Kent. There is something wonderful about the idea that we all have something amazing inside of us and we just have to tap into that. I think superhero stories are really interesting. I think it would be fun.
Are there any roles or projects that stand out in your career that you are most proud of? Do you have any opinions on what you may consider to be your strongest work?
That’s a hard question. Everything I have done from my first commercial to True Detective has taught me something and is special to me in its own way. I keep getting better as I get older. The more I work—the more confident I get and the more I learn. Everything has a special place in my heart because it has taught me so much. I feel very proud of the work I have put into everything. That is a tough question…