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Alexandra daddario Alexandra Daddario interview

INTERVIEW: Alexandra Daddario Reveals the Secrets Behind ‘The White Lotus’ 

More than a decade after she first hit the mainstream, an unassuming dark comedy about a beleaguered hotel chain turned Alexandra Daddario into one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars. In an Australian exclusive, ‘The White Lotus’ actress sat down with Man of Many editor-in-chief Nick Hall to talk setbacks, break-throughs and the ‘finicky’ nature of the film industry.

Alexandra Daddario is no stranger to exotic locations. Perched atop a cruise ship observatory deck five storeys above Monaco’s famous Port Hercules, the bustling waterways alive with private charters beneath her, the actor looks right at home. Through the muffled sounds of popping Champagne and the scurrying of waitstaff boat shoes across the pristinely polished upper deck, the faint tinge of a New York accent rises above.

“I’ve been practising my grade school French to the best I can,” she laughs. “I’m always proud of myself when I pull that off.”

At this time of year, the idyllic setting, just a stone’s throw from where the Hitchcock classic To Catch a Thief was filmed, makes for a fascinating meeting point. In just a few short hours, the principality will play host to an intoxicating cocktail of sport and celebrity, when the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix officially kicks off. If ever there was a place to meet up and talk cinema, style and street-circuits, Monaco would be it. So imagine my surprise when The White Lotus star reveals that, like me, she’s never before stepped foot on the fabled Capriccio-inspired steps of Monte Carlo.

“’I’ve never been here before, and it’s absolutely stunning. I feel like there’s something about the city that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which I love. There’s such a sense of play. And to race cars in the street instead of on a track is a very sort of playful thing to do.”

Living the Dream

For Daddario, it feels like a perfect fit. The 38-year-old actress, famous for her quick wit and perfect delivery, has made a career out of not taking herself too seriously. She’s starred in zombie comedies and disaster flicks, played Lois Lane in an animated Superman movie and even donned the iconic Baywatch red bathing suit. Looking at her filmography at large, you’d be hard-pressed to find a working actor in Hollywood who is having more fun than Daddario, and she knows it. The Emmy-nominated actor is living out a childhood dream; one that she can trace back to a singular defining moment.

“There is a sense of wonder, like, “Wow, I can’t believe it. If teenage girl Alex could see this, it’s pretty incredible,” she says. “I remember being about 13 and home alone for the weekend while my parents were out of the country. So I went to the corner store and rented American Beauty and Moulin Rouge. I watched them, and I was blown away. There’s a sort of melancholy to both of them that I think I responded to. It was just this sort of religious experience for me, and I was like, “That’s what I want to do.”


“(Acting) showed me that it’s okay to be super deep and emotional. In acting class, I was allowed to really express my feelings in a way I wasn’t allowed to in the real world.”

The White Lotus Effect

A star of both big and small screen, the career actor was already a household name when snagged a role in Mike White’s pandemic-produced phenomenon, The White Lotus, but from there, everything changed. Seemingly overnight, the actor went from a recognisable face to one of television’s biggest stars, dragging her from the indie world and thrusting her head-first into the cultural zeitgeist. More than two years after her season finished, Daddario is still in awe of the series’ staying power.

“It was awesome. I mean, you have to remember too, there wasn’t much coming out,” she tells me. “It was a very strange time. The last thing we were thinking about was, “How is this going to do?” Well, at least I was. So when it became the phenomenon it became, it was wonderful.”

“I feel like if you get lucky enough as an actress to be on something that invades the pop culture in that way, you always feel blessed by success. Why wouldn’t you feel excited about it? I’ll talk about it for the rest of my life.”

The global phenomenon, created by visionary filmmaker Mike White, focused on the guests and employees of the fictional White Lotus resort chain. Interactions are awkward, dysfunctional and often confronting, leading to some knockout performances from the ensemble cast.

The limited series went on to become one of HBO’s most watched in history, snagging 11 nominations at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards, including an Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie acknowledgement to Daddario. As she reveals, no one on set expected The White Lotus to be as transcendent as it was, but there was undeniable chemistry that made it feel innately different.


“Mike White really astounded me with his genius, his passion, and his complete belief in what he was doing. I just feel lucky to be part of something that unique. It was creatively fulfilling, and to have that kind of response is more than you can ask for.”

“It was a really lovely, peaceful, non-party atmosphere, which is actually unusual for a set, especially in a location like that. I think a lot of how we were all feeling permeated our performances, and we created something really unique.”

In all probability, season one of the hit series captured a magic that we are unlikely to ever see again. A set cloaked in uncertainty, fixed to the backdrop of an evolving global pandemic and shrouded in mystery, it’s worth a documentary series of its own.

“We were sort of coming out of a cave, and we were all just a little bit off, I think. There was even a part of time when some of us were in quarantine, but everyone was so lovely, and every day we’d go to the beach, we’d watch the sunset, and we were very together. It felt more like a family.

“To have that kind of success during a time when it was hard to get work, I feel very blessed and lucky.”

The ‘Finicky’ Side to Hollywood

Daddario, whose first introduction to the world of film and cinema came when she was just a child, overnight success has been a long time coming. Small but memorable parts in some of the biggest series in television history should have propelled her into the entertainment stratosphere, but somehow, the timing just didn’t line up. When she landed a role in the blockbuster fantasy hit Percy Jackson, the reality hit home.

“I thought I was going to get fired every day. The sets were huge and I don’t think I fully understood, exactly, what it was I was stepping into,” she says. “I was just so excited to be working with the people I was working with, and it was just really cool. It was a different time, but I am eternally grateful to Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan, and Mark Radcliffe, who were the producers on that film. They gave me a chance.”

From there, Daddario focused on the craft, grounding out roles in a series of cult films and projects. Some were monumental hits, while others failed to make a dent, but each time she searched for the silver lining.

True Detective was huge for me, and I fully embraced that,” she says. “There were things that didn’t make a huge splash in my career, but that meant a lot to me. Burying the Ex was a movie that ended up going to the Venice Film Festival, and that was super cool.

“There are these moments, like certain red carpets you get to be on, certain people you get to meet or work with, or there’s some stuff that permeates pop culture, or stuff no one ever saw, but it meant a lot to me. I think a lot about acting is about confidence, and along the way, you pick up tips and tricks and confidence and experiences, and I’m very lucky to have had a lot of experiences, good and bad.”

“There’s been times in my career that I think my career is over. You do a string of bad movies. Hollywood is finicky.”

It’s a refreshingly honest take on the industry, but that’s Daddario in a nutshell. Brutally honest and surprisingly open, she doesn’t shy away from the misfires or setbacks that invariably come with a career in the spotlight. In a way, it makes you root for her even more.

“Listen, that’s how it goes. What are you going to do? I mean, more often than not, the things I do, everyone hates or no one sees. I’ve been in so many movies that have been so poorly reviewed, and it hurts,” she says. “Baywatch was very sad for me because there was so much hinging on it. It was so big, and you have your face on every billboard, and then it just didn’t work, and that was painful. But life goes on. I’m lucky to have that experience. It helped in certain ways.”

“Throughout my career, it’s been different. It’s very, very challenging,” she says. “And I feel so lucky to have that because all careers are like this, and it’s a very, very hard place to be in.”

A Different Kind of Billboard

For an actor as instantly recognisable as Daddario, her long list of credits feels remarkably varied. From romance and comedy to horror and sci-fi, the New York native has left no stone unturned, genre-hopping her way from indie-project to big-budget blockbuster. Somewhere along the way, she even found the time to become the new face of Swiss luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer.

“That was another thing White Lotus did, was it allowed me to choose brands that I really was passionate about and work with them,” she says. “I’ve been a huge fan of TAG Heuer, and to be involved and understand more about the collections, the way the watches work, and to sort of feel like part of the team, it’s incredible. It’s a really huge honour. They’re just elegant and sophisticated, and they have a sense of fun.”

Since 2023, Daddario has championed the Carrera Date lineup, introducing the world to a new variety of dial colours that feel innately playful, and she’s the perfect person to lead it. An international star who doesn’t take herself too seriously, Daddario exudes a unique sense of wonder that is entirely captivating. It must be said; seeing the actor’s remarkably piercing blue eyes adorn a campaign that highlights vibrancy is a stroke of marketing genius. As she reveals, however, the concept of seeing your face on a billboard for one of the biggest brands in the world is somehow very different from seeing it promoting a new film.


“It’s always cool. As I’ve gotten older, I just feel proud that I can be part of things that I really love, and to do that is amazing,” she tells me. “And then there’s also part of me that’s the teenage girl, there’s always that, and I think you have to keep that sense of wonder, right? You don’t want to become too jaded.”

Watching Daddario, an actress whose break-through role saw her awkwardly navigate a luxury hotel in a faraway land, disembark a cruise ship on the French Riviera, the full circle moment isn’t lost on me. Perhaps it’s a sentiment reserved for those who have had to wait for success to come to them, but Daddario seems remarkably modest for someone at the top of the entertainment food chain. It could be yoga, it might be meditation, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion her humility comes from knowing that success is a gift not always afforded to those who deserve it. Thankfully, it appears fate has got this one right.

“I always feel blessed by success,” she says serenely as the Monaco sunlight pokes its way through the late-spring clouds. “I’ve been doing this now for 25 years, and I still have things that I strive for. I’m obsessed with working.”