September belongs to actress Alexandra Daddario. In addition to starring in the atmospheric Night Hunter (shot in Winnipeg and featuring an incredible cast), Daddario also stars in and produces Can You Keep a Secret?, a rom-com based on the popular book by Sophie Kinsella and featuring Tyler Hoechlin as Daddario’s co-lead.
We caught up with Daddario by phone about both projects and she was very forthcoming in her answers.
The following is an edited and condensed version of our interview with the fascinating Alexandra Daddario.
Brief Take: What was it like to work with a pair of super men – Tyler Hoechlin and Henry Cavill?
Alexandra Daddario: Well they’re both absolutely wonderful people. I don’t know if the casting directors casting for Superman were looking for that when they were doing their casting, but they both have a stoicism about them. They’re very, very wonderful actors, wonderful actors to work with, and really considerate co-stars. I’m just lucky. I feel really lucky in these two films to have worked with the kinds of people with whom I had the opportunity to work. As I go through my career and I work more and more, it’s more and more important to me to work with people that are passionate and kind and care about what they’re doing, and to work with good people. And they’re both absolutely wonderful.
BT: Night Hunter was a lot of fun to watch and filled with surprising twists. When they were pitching you the project, was there the phone call that started with: “We are filming outdoors in Winnipeg in the winter”?
AD: [laughs loudly] I feel like I can’t insult Winnipeg, I shot two films there now. The people, everyone, the crews are really amazing up in Winnipeg. The weather is brutal. The weather is absolutely brutal and we shot in the dead of winter and it’s a unique experience. It’s…I don’t know how I would survive the winter there for more than the month that I was there shooting. [laughs] But everyone was so amazing throughout all of the weather being terrible, and it was snowing and cold and everyone was so incredible and no one complained. We did everything that we needed to do and I think that it added a really sleek look to the film. And I was really excited to work with that cast (including Stanley Tucci, Sir Ben Kingsley, Brendan Fletcher, Minka Kelly and Nathan Fillion). It was a really, really cool experience.
BT: What was your experience as a executive producer on Can You Keep a Secret?
AD: I had a great team of support, as an actor, I’m still learning to produce, but one of the cool things about that experience was having a female director as well and I became very close with her, Elise Duran. She brought me into so much of the film, and I think that I can watch myself, I can watch dailies, they didn’t provide me with that all the time, but I have an objective viewpoint I think as an actor in which I can watch it without focusing only on myself, or just on certain aspects of it. I am able to see it objectively, which I think helps in making tweaks or finding my own perspective, and that was cool, to be able to be brought into the creative process in that way. I also felt that there were certain things with which I could help and there were certain things with which I couldn’t, as I still learn about how all this stuff works. There were certain things that I was able to fix and provide the producers with that they wouldn’t have been able to do on their own, and there were certain things from which I needed to step back. It was really cool to be able to have that kind of control and to be brought in to something that usually as an actor from which you are completely separated, and I actually enjoy that a great deal.
BT: Do you enjoy working in the rom-com genre? What’s your favourite rom-com?
AD: Oh I love rom-coms! I love them. I love Sliding Doors, Notting Hill, I could watch that every single day for weeks, When Harry Met Sally... I used to watch everything, and as I get older and life gets [chuckles] more complicated and stuff like that, all I really want to do at the end of the day is sit down and watch something really fun and delightful. So I have been watching more and more rom-coms because it cheers me up! And I don’t want to deal with stuff any more that is too heavy. I think that also the way in which we consume media now with streaming and you can make these rom-coms that millions of people can see in the comfort of their own homes. I think that is a wonderful opportunity for a lot of these projects, as we go through this process of figuring out how we are going to consume media now, really great films aren’t just being released in the theatres. They can be released in all these different kinds of streaming sites and I think that it’s allowing for a lot more films to get made.
BT: You’re an amazing scene partner. Who have been some of your favourites to interact opposite?
AD: Oh, so many people! You know you go through this and you meet so many different kinds of people and you deal with things in so many different ways. And you can learn about acting and the politics of film and the business of film from different people’s experiences. You learn a lot from people who have more experience than you and less experience than you. My first big movie was Percy Jackson, which was two other young people and me and we were basically in the entire film, and then we had all these legendary actors coming in and out to play the Gods (such as Sean Bean and Kevin McKidd). I was able to work with Ray Winstone and Pierce Brosnan and Rosario Dawson and Uma Thurman and all of these incredible people—I learned something new from each of them. As I have gone through my career and I have gotten to work with these kinds of legendary people, you pay close attention, you see how they work and how they deal with people on set and I gleaned a lot from that experience.
Being a woman in particular, and we’ve been dealing with this a lot in Hollywood, is how do you find that finely-tuned balance between being a businesswoman, being an actress and also trying to protect yourself and protect the film. A lot of the women that I have worked with have shown me how you can find that right balance.
BT: What is the importance of giving back to you and your charity work in how to find that balance?
AD: I think that I found this platform and when I sought out to be an actress, I didn’t know which way my career would go or what was going to happen, and I ended up having all of these followers on Instagram, in part a lot to the films that I’ve done with The Rock and the large-scale nature of some of the projects I’ve done. I reached the point for which I wanted to use it, as I was like: Wow! I actually have the ability to raise money or create some kind of change or say something to this young audience that I have that might be meaningful. The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation approached me to work with Nothing but Nets and go to Africa and I think that it’s such a cool thing to want to help people want to create change and actually have the ability to do so. Because maybe you have young people who watched Percy Jackson who are now in their twenties and they’re not aware of certain things that are going on in Africa, the HIV rates, all these things that in current day we forgot how bad it was in the 80’s. The amazing thing about being in this position is being able to teach young people, to a certain extent, about subjects about which they may not know anything and try to help raise money and try to help change, even small-scale, parts of Malawi, in this case.
View this post on Instagram
Elizabeth Taylor was an incredible woman who devoted so much of her energy to helping people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation is still fighting to ensure people in all parts of the world are able to get education to help prevent the spread of HIV and provide medical care to empower women and men to take control of their health. Excited to share that @elizabethtayloraidsfoundation is once again benefitting from @macys Thanks For Sharing this year! Give a little, get a lot, and visit macys.com/thanks for more details. If you can, please donate what you can, or volunteer. And always tell your friends to use protection and to show compassion. This makes a huge difference in the world. ❤️💜
BT: What do these films Night Hunter and Can You Keep a Secret? bring to you in terms of your career arc and where would you like go from here?
AD: It’s two things: I’m aware of my career and where I am at and where I need to be. I’m also aware of my life and where I need to be and the kinds of experiences I want to have, and really finding that look, it’s life and you want to have cool, different experiences and experiment with different characters and do different kinds of things. I think I have a balance between the business and the life and the art and the personal instinct about it. But I want to do good work, I want to work with good people. I love film, I love stories, I love people and I want to be able to grow and become better and learn more. At t least in this stage of my career, I try to not to think too much about: “Oh, what could I be doing that’s better?”. I think that you need to love what you do and live in the moment and find things that you really, really enjoy and then comes the rest. In this business of being an actor, you never know what can happen. I never would have anticipated that I would be doing the kind of things that I’m doing or that I would have done the kind of things I’ve done. I’ve reached a point in which I can’t really control it, so I try not to think too much about it.
Night Hunter is currently playing in theatres and On Demand. Can You Keep a Secret? is currently playing in theatres and VOD.