Alexandra Daddario (True Detective, Percy Jackson) stars in Warner Bros. Pictures’ San Andreas, an action adventure film directed by Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) and co-starring Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino. The film follows a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Johnson) who’s attempting to get from LA to San Francisco to find his daughter (Daddario) following a devastating earthquake. I caught up with Daddario at the 2015 WonderCon in Anaheim to find out more about this disaster movie and what audiences can expect when San Andreas shakes up theaters on May 29, 2015.
One of the great things about disaster movies is when people who otherwise don’t get along have to work together. Does your character have some moments like that?
Alexandra Daddario: “No, I get along with the people that I’m stuck with on my disaster journey, luckily enough. I think that the characters are very likable in this movie. You really care what happens to them, and I think that’s very important for a movie like this because there’s so much other stuff going on and so everyone is very likable – in real life and in the movie.”
So where do they get stuck when the earthquake hits?
Alexandra Daddario: “Well, I am in San Francisco when it happens and then my parents are in Los Angeles, and then it’s sort of trying to find each other and make sure that everyone’s okay. I can’t imagine anything more terrifying than not knowing where your loved ones are and we’re trying to get to each other. My character gets to go on her own journey and survive and make her own decisions. You know, it was interesting to find this girl. I think she’s very strong and becomes stronger throughout the movie because you have these moments of vulnerability and fear, but you also have to survive and find those moments of strength.”
It’s called San Andreas. Do you actually shoot in California or was it somewhere else doubling for California?
Alexandra Daddario: “No. Because of tax breaks we shot in Australia, which I have no complaints about. I had never been to Australia so it was great to shoot in Australia and travel there and work there. That was very exciting. It’s a beautiful place, but I think we may start to get more tax breaks here, depending on what happens because everyone wants to work at home although I’m lucky to have had the chance to travel.”
What character do you play and who are the other characters you interact with?
Alexandra Daddario: “I play Dwayne Johnson’s daughter, which is very exciting. She meets a guy and his brother and just as the earthquake hits they’re stuck together, and they have to find their way out of the disaster.”
I referred to the aftershock earlier, but the earthquake has to hit first.
Alexandra Daddario: “Right. Well, there are so many things that happen. There’s an earthquake and then another, and then aftershocks. When an earthquake hits, it’s not usually just one thing. There’s all kinds of aftershocks and there’s a tsunami that hits. It’s an exaggerated view of what could happen. It’s not the exact thing that would happen to California in the near future. It’s meant to be fun; it’s meant to get your adrenaline pumping. At the same time, it sort of makes you think about, ‘Okay, how do I get prepared for what possibly could happen?'”
We know there’s a lot of special effects but did you ever find yourself in some very real dangerous situations?
Alexandra Daddario: “No. I mean, I’ve been doing stunts for a while now and I really enjoy doing them. I feel they’re an important part of developing your character and finding your own strength. I like doing stunts, but I always feel very safe. There are wonderful stunt teams that make it look way more scary than it actually is. I think the level of fear that you bring to it is what you’re bringing to the character. I’ve always felt very safe. And, you know, on sets if there’s ever a situation where you don’t feel safe someone’s going to speak up. You speak up. But these people are experts at what they do and they make you feel very comfortable.”
When you did True Detective did you know what the arc of that character was going to be when you started, or did you get those scripts later on?
Alexandra Daddario: “I got the scripts later on. I actually had auditioned for a different role so I wasn’t familiar with the role at all when I was cast in it. But it was a project that I really knew I wanted to be a part of. I was a big fan of Cary Fukunaga’s. I knew that it had to be something great to attract the kind of talent that it had attracted. It was just something different than anything that I had done. So, it wasn’t something that I knew would be what it was, but when I did start working on the character and reading the scripts I was blown away by the writing and very excited to work with Woody [Harrelson]. It’s still surreal to me that what happened with that show happened, and that it affected me in such a positive way.”
She turns out to be so dangerous. Were you gratified by that turn that you were able to take?
Alexandra Daddario: “Yeah. I think that she’s a very damaged person. She’s naive, and she’s a very damaged person. I’m fascinated by people and who we are and why we do the things that we do. I think that no one is all bad or all good; there’s different pieces to all of us. I think she’s someone who’s very driven by her emotions and possibly slightly something, but I think that it was interesting to play a character who had such an interesting arc and was so volatile and unpredictable.”
Watch the interview:
-By Rebecca Murray
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