When it came to casting the daughter of powerhouse onscreen couple Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino, Warner Bros. new earthquake epic San Andreas hit the jackpot in Alexandra Daddario.
The up-and-comer has racked up an impressive array of credits over the years, including fantasy and horror genre turns in the two Percy Jackson films, Texas Chainsaw 3D and the upcoming zombie comedy Burying the Ex, and her Hollywood profile's been on the rise with a string of notable TV guest spots, including a stint on the first season of HBO’s True Detective.
Daddario continues to shake things up in San Andreas, and in a one-on-one chat with Spinoff Online she revealed how she psyched herself up for big action sequences, what she worried was secretly happening in those scenes shot in water tanks, and how she felt about playing a chip off the ol' Rock.
Spinoff Online: What was the thing about this one that made you say, I'm going to sign the contract?
Alexandra Daddario: There were a few things. I mean, I think I love doing these big movies and action-driven films. It's really, really fun for me. And I like playing these strong female characters. Also, I got to shoot in Australia. I've never been to Australia – that was a big perk! And then, I get to play The Rock's daughter. And I thought that was the coolest thing ever. And everything about this movie was so cool, and I had so much fun shooting it. And it's exciting to do something as different as this.
I imagine it took a lot of acting to feel those paternal feelings toward The Rock instead of, "He's hot."
[Laughs] That's interesting. I never really thought that! I think I went in thinking, "Okay. He's my dad."
Working with Dwayne, what was the fun discovery about him?
His reputation precedes him in the best way possible. He really is one of the nicest, kindest people you'll ever meet, and he's so hard working. What he's done is absolutely incredible. And he's an inspiration in that way. So I think it was really cool to see that in action and to work with somebody who inspired the people around him as much as he did. And yeah, he is as kind and wonderful as everyone says.
Give me your craziest on-set story.
Well, I've seen a lot of crazy, crazy things. I did a lot of horror films, and for some reason, in horror films they ask you to do even crazier things than you can imagine. I think I'm used to being asked to do very strange things. But I got to do a lot of things I've never done before. I worked in a water tank, and that was really absolutely incredible because it's this giant set that they built, and then they submerge the set in water and it's a whole crew working underwater. And that was really interesting – and then you always worry that everyone's peeing in the water, and that you're swimming around in it!
No scary moment?
There were times when, if I need to be scared for a scene, I like to try to frighten myself or put myself in a situation where I feel uncomfortable, if that makes any sense. So I think that there was a little bit of that. But I think I have this weird, twisted thing as an actor, where you sort of enjoy it because you're getting to the place that you need to be for the character, and it's the whole acting thing. But nothing where I really felt "Okay, my life is in danger," in real life.
Have you lived in California for a long time?
Six years now.
So do you have your own personal earthquake story yet?
There were a couple little earthquakes – I mean, the biggest earthquake I was in was in the middle of the night, and I woke up and then it shook a little bit more. My dog jumped in my arms, but nothing fell off the walls. I haven't been in a big earthquake. I grew up in New York, so my big disaster was 9/11. So I haven't experienced anything similar to that living in California, but I am more prepared now after doing this movie and stocked up on water and stuff, which I hadn't been before.
We've been seeing you everywhere lately – New Girl, True Detective, The Last Man on Earth and now San Andreas. What is it like to be in this zone where you get to try so many different things as an actress?
I love it. I really like to try different things, and I like to meet different people and work with different people. It's fun to be able to pop into a show and do something and work with someone that you've been a huge fan of for a long time. And it's cool to be a fan of a show and be on it. It's awesome, so I'm having a really good time. The last year's been really good to me, and I feel really blessed and lucky. And I hope it continues.
San Andreas hits theaters today.