Over the last ten years or so, Alexandra Daddario has established herself as one of the recognizable new talents on the scene. Across this last decade and change, she’s kept herself busy between a wide range of projects, from massive blockbusters with big movie stars, to leading indie dramas and genre flicks.
Whether you count yourself among a new wave of fans after binging The While Lotus, or is someone who has admired her for years, there is more than enough room for all who want to celebrate a star who seems to just be getting warmed up.
7. Lost Girls & Love Hotels
A little too preoccupied trying to sound existential and appear sensual than to actually be much of either, Lost Girls & Love Hotels is a 2020 erotic drama that isn’t quite as smart or exotic as it thinks it is. However, it’s an example of something several other movies that rank a bit higher on this list: Daddario is ready for bigger things. While she’s had luck in girl-next-doors-type roles, rom-coms and as the occasional Final Girl, this sexual drama of a woman spending her night aimlessly traversing Tokyo’s nightlife looking for love connections is her at her most physically and emotionally vulnerable. Often one of a larger ensemble, here it’s certainly her show, and while the movie itself is a mixed bag it’s certainly worth the watch for anyone interested in seeing Daddario challenging herself.
6. Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief
More successful than a lot of YA blockbusters but not quite as big as Harry Potter or Twilight, the quality of the first Percy Jackson movie falls into a similar kind of category: Better than many, but not as good as the best. The first of the two movies to adapt Rick Riordan’s series of books (so far, now that Disney has the rights), moves at such a speedy pace that it sacrifices plenty of character development, but when it gets going this family-friendly adventure in Greek mythology moves quickly and finds the fun with some adventure and even a bit of camp (see Uma Thurman’s Medusa). Daddario is sort of the “Hermione” of the group as Annabeth, a daughter of Athena, who trades her Harry Potter comparison’s intellectual genius for combat mastery. An early, fun role for Daddario that’s neither her best movie nor even her best blockbuster, but she delivered more than enough to solidify her soon-to-be star status in a series that perhaps a stronger cinematic outing.
5. San Andreas
Who says Roland Emmerich gets to have all the fun making our planet crumble via natural disasters? Brad Peyton stakes his claim as a maestro of catastrophic destruction with this Dwayne Johnson vehicle, in which Daddario plays his daughter Blake. While this is certainly a show belonging to the hulking lead, Daddario fits into her role nicely as a young woman shaken by the destruction she’s caught in the middle of, but keeps a cool, methodical head as she leads her and companions to safety as best she can. If you’re someone who loves Daddario or destruction on a monumental scale à la Day After Tomorrow, I would guess this is maybe a good one to check out.
4. Lost Transmissions
Much like Lost Girls & Love Hotels, this indie drama with Daddario flew under the radar in 2020 and is also an imperfect drama. And yet, this one is a far more compelling watch thanks to outstanding leading work from Juno Temple as a songwriter living in California, and Simon Pegg as her friend suffering from relapsing schizophrenia. While not as big a role as those two, Daddario still gets to flex a bit more range than she has in the past as a Katy Perry-esque pop star named Dana Lee, a diva who acts as a potential gateway into the upper echelon of the music industry that Temple’s character must contend with, all while trying to get Pegg’s character the help he needs. Daddario’s role both makes use of her beauty and likable allure, while at the same time giving her room to be a bit of an asshole, both playing into roles she’s been fit into before while simultaneously subverting them. An imperfect film with a trio of excellent performances, it’s further proof Daddario is ready for some of those meatier roles.
3. Superman: Man of Tomorrow
One entry in a long line of excellent animated movies in the DC universe, Superman: Man of Tomorrow takes a different approach to the origins of Clark Kent/Superman (voiced by Darren Criss) as he learns to become the Man of Steel in Metropolis. Having to confront incoming alien threats like Lobo as he discovers his own past, Supes sometimes learns the painful way what it means to be Earth’s protector. Voicing reporter Lois Lane, Daddario gets to voice a take on the character who is also rising in the ranks of the journalism world — even if it means being ostracized by fellow Daily Planet workers. Daddario voices her unfettered drive, giving that needed tenaciousness, spunk, and resilience when on the job, and that bit of budding flirtation between scenes with her and Clark. The sheer nature of the movie means it probably won’t go down as one of her most notable works, but she does admirable work breathing life into an iconic character in an excellent Superman tale.
2. We Summon the Darkness
Genre flicks like Bereavement and Texas Chainsaw 3D have found Daddario outrunning one killer or another, but We Summon the Darkness gives her the chance to be the one doing the hunting and have a blast doing it. Taking that kind of charm and humor that have made her a fine fit for some rom-coms, Daddario goes bonkers as a member of a cult looking to murder some poor fools and make it look like the work of Satan worshippers. Playing into the gonzo humor of the situation and the character, Daddario and castmates Maddie Hasson, Johnny Knoxville and more make for a wild ride of a midnight thriller that sparks a bit of madness into the home invasion genre.
1. We Have Always Lived in a Castle
Released a few months after the debut of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, We Have Always Lived in a Castle is another stirring, atmospheric adaptation of another classic Shirley Jackson story. Starring Daddario and Taissa Farmiga as Constance and Merricat Blackwood, this gothic suspense film from Stacie Passon digs deep into the profound themes of Jackson’s work with clarity and no small amount of tension. Passon finds the terror in the exploration of “otherness” in a small town, the citizens of which look suspiciously at these two sisters of the wealthy Blackwoods, and the family’s dark past. But as tense and unsettling as the story becomes, at the heart of it is a tale about the love between the two sisters, the anxious, superstitious Merricat, and the whistful, agoraphobic Constance who dreams of running away to Europe. Like Hill House, We Have Always Lived in a Castle honors Jackson’s work by neither shortchanging the characters or the dark atmosphere, with Farmiga and Daddario both doing great work as the Blackwood sisters, making it the latter’s best and most confidently made work on her resume.