Despite numerous evidence to the contrary, Alexandra Daddario still does not consider herself a celebrity.

But there are moments when she is reminded, as she was on a chilly afternoon in late November, at a small cafe and juice bar in Manhattan’s West Village. For most of the one-hour conversation, he went unnoticed over his honey almond matcha latte. Just then a college going lady came to the table, as playful as she was.

“Sorry,” said the girl. “I’ve actually seen you in ‘The White Lotus’.” You are my favorite actress.

Daddario’s striking sea-blue eyes — you’ll see them plastered all over New York City subways and bus stops, advertising the new AMC series “Anne Rice Mayfair Witch” — widen in genuine surprise. She looked around, as if to verify that there were indeed no other “White Lotus” actresses in the cafe.

But not at all. It was only this woman who was watched by millions in her Emmy-nominated performance as Rachel in Season 1 of the hit HBO series “The White Lotus.” The lady who is about to take her first lead in a major TV series debuting on Sunday, in which she plays Dr. Rowan Fielding – an adopted last name, in a departure from the novels – a young neurosurgeon who discovers she is the descendant of a family of Mayfair witches.

Daddario smiled, stood up and took the girl in his arms. In her huge cheetah-print coat, black turtleneck and strappy black sandals, she was, admittedly, a little over-worn for the setting, but she seemed straight from a photo shoot. She went into red-carpet mode as the girl’s friend clicked a picture on her phone.

“Is she okay?” He asked a friend, giving him the opportunity to examine the photo and make sure that nothing had to be done.

It was not necessary.

It was familiar territory for Daddario, 36, who is no stranger to successful self-curation. her instagram, with about 23 million followers, with the Eiffel Tower in Paris, at home in Los Angeles with her handsome new husband, on vacation topless in an infinity pool, is a careful mix of #inspo and sex appeal that marks the expert millennial influencer. Call it Chuggy, Call it Smart; Either way, she’s doing something right.

But after a string of action-adventure roles, often playing heroes — demigod Annabeth Chase in the two “Percy Jackson” films, fearless lifeguard Summer Quinn in “Baywatch” — Daddario’s choice of characters in recent years, and her Talk about their persistence, greater depth in dwelling. Like Rachel, who is angered by recent big decisions, Rowan must focus on the opposing forces within her. For there is darkness that belies its beautiful exterior.

It was this complexity, Daddario said, that drew him to the new AMC series based on Rice’s popular Lives of the Mayfair Witches horror trilogy from the 1990s. In conversation, one sensed that Rowan’s less savage impulses were particularly appealing.

“If you were given the right, what would you do?” He asked. “Would you be able to control yourself and do only good? I don’t know if any of us can say yes.”

“Mayfair Witches” is AMC’s second major series to draw from Rice’s work, with which the network hopes to build a TV universe. AMC acquired the rights to 18 of Rice’s novels in 2020, a year before her death, which includes several books in her highly successful Vampire Chronicles series and the Mayfair trilogy. The network’s reimagining of “Interview with the Vampire,” which premiered in October, was AMC’s first of at least five Rice-based series.

Those two book series have combined to sell millions of copies and earn a fiercely protective fan base, known for scrutinizing — not always from the kindest or most enlightened perspective — every decision taken in a screen adaptation. (Some fan reactions to “The Interview,” which, among other things, changed the racial makeup of some characters, were particularly bad; the show has already been renewed for a second season.) Daddario like that familiar with the stress of

Daddario said, “It was the same pressure when I was doing ‘Percy Jackson’.” “Of course, you’ll always have people who think something is supposed to be one way or the other, so you just have to go in with good intentions and try to bring life to the character.”

The creative team was no less self-conscious, which made their choice of lead particularly important. Series showrunner, Asta Spalding (“Being a God in Central Florida”), who along with Michelle Ashford (“Masters of Sex”) produced and executive produced the series, cited Daddario’s versatility as the lead in their choice as Rowan. indicated as a factor. ,

“The tricky thing about this part is she’s going to be a witch, but she starts out a surgeon,” Spalding said. “So you have to believe that this woman is going to walk down the corridors of a hospital and cut open a man’s brain and perform an operation.”

Daddario, the daughter of New York lawyers, knew all too well the pressures and requirements of the white-collar world. After attending the Professional Children’s School, an Upper West Side institution for aspiring child actors and dancers, she booked her first professional role – as Laurie Lewis on the ABC daytime soap opera “All My Children” – when She was 16 years old. After small TV roles on “Law & Order” and “The Sopranos,” his big break came at age 22, when he starred in “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” based on Rick Riordan’s children’s fantasy novels. Played the female lead in.

“Kids are such a huge fan base,” she said. “They don’t judge the film harshly because they don’t know anything better than to love the characters.”

That said, his experience on “Percy Jackson” somewhat prepared him to star seven years later in the reboot of another popular franchise, this time for adults: “Baywatch” (2017). Although the film was a critical flop, it changed her trajectory.

He said of the film, “‘Baywatch’ raised my profile and changed the kind of jobs I was being offered, maybe not in a positive way.” “But I’m glad I did.”

While “Baywatch” made headlines, it didn’t turbocharge her career, which she felt had stalled, she said, in the years before the pandemic.

A boost came into the pop-culture juggernaut that was the first season of “The White Lotus”. Her turn as Rachel, a newlywed on honeymoon, who begins to suspect that her decision to marry the wealthy and obnoxiously entitled Shane (Jake Lacey) may be a big mistake, provided some of the season’s true meaning I should be a character of sympathy.

Mike White, who wrote and directed “The White Lotus”, said, “Rachel was one of the few characters in that season who didn’t have to be as likable as the other characters.” “Alexandra had a simple, natural approach to the character that was very endearing.”

Daddario, who Where is That she experienced the same romantic heartbreak as Rachel, slipping right into the role.

“Coming out of Covid, I really connected with her,” Daddario said of Rachel. “She lives in this fantasy world where everything is going right and is always trying to please. There was something heartbreaking and horrifying about being able to tell that story.”

On set, it wasn’t always so serious. Lacy appreciated his sense of humor – and a tolerance for his “diva moves”.

“We did a scene where I was shirtless and I was doing push-ups before the take,” he said. “I was like, ‘Hey, I’m sorry for the pointlessness of doing this, I just want to look good on camera,’ and she was like: ‘Jake, I was in “Baywatch.” Everyone who has months without clothes to perform at their best. These 10 push-ups aren’t making me think less of you.'”

Rachel’s story is, ultimately, a tragedy, a sobering study in the pressures of class and the cost of compromise. If his character in the “Mayfair Witches” is deep, it is probably more kind than degree. But with rowan’s darkness comes strength.

“She walks the line between good and evil,” Daddario said, “and that’s interesting to explore.”

Spalding and Ashford knew they would face a significant challenge in condensing Rowan’s story into eight episodes: the first book in the series, “The Witching Hour”, is over 1,000 pages.

He reorganized the chronology, condensing many historical elements into short segments that appear at the beginning of each episode. and he played a key character from the novels, Michael Curry, Rowan’s love interest, alongside another character, Aaron Lightner, played by a new character, Cyprien Grieve, Tongai Chirisa (“Palm Springs”).

Chirissa, 41, a newcomer to Hollywood, recalled first hanging out with Daddario over hamburgers in New Orleans, where the series was shot last year.

“She felt like she was the girl next door,” he said. “Everything he’s experienced gives him a very well-balanced sense of who he is.”

girl next door ok maybe The very popular and hot girl next door — that’s still how Daddario sees herself. She said she still has to audition for roles. He is not being mobbed on the road. She can still get coffee in her hometown – mostly – unfamiliar.

“Beyond all the beauty, talent and glamour,” said Lacey, “there’s just being a good New Yorker.”

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