Alexandra Daddario's Magic Hour
The actress embraces her inner enchantress in Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches.
As a teenager, Alexandra Daddario identified with Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She wanted to have powers, too — mainly to impress the "cool kids." Her biggest fantasy when she went to Manhattan's all-girls Brearley School was to be able to fly around the annual school dance, which was held with a neighboring all-boys school.
It was performing, however, that became Daddario's magical power. Obsessed with Les Misérables at an early age, she started taking acting lessons and booking commercials, then scored a recurring gig on All My Children at age sixteen. From there, she moved on to study the Meisner technique.
"The thing I needed was more confidence," she says. That's no longer a problem, of course — she's made memorable appearances in the Percy Jackson film franchise (in 2010 and 2013), True Detective (2014) and The White Lotus (2021), the last of which earned her an Emmy nomination. "I think White Lotus allowed people to see me in a different way," she says. "It allowed me to do other things that maybe I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do."
Such as finally playing a witch. With her dark hair, pale skin and bewitching blue eyes, she certainly has the look. And now, in her first lead television role, she's playing Dr. Rowan Fielding, a neurosurgeon who inherits a magical legacy in Anne Rice's Mayfair Witches. The eight-episode AMC series, which was renewed for a second season, is based on Rice's erotic horror trilogy — The Witching Hour, Lasher and Taltos. Daddario read the first book while in production in New Orleans and reached the last page on the final day of shooting: "It really timed out well."
She also did a deep dive on Rice herself, which gave her insight into Rowan's motivations — "what she's drawn to, even when she really shouldn't be" — and how to play the character's sexual awakening, which is intertwined with the emergence of her latent powers. "This is someone who's lost, who is going through immense change," Daddario says. "I embraced the insanity of it, but I also wanted to bring it back to a human level."
In addition to being number one on the call sheet, while on set, Daddario was planning her wedding to producer Andrew Form. The event featured flourishes like tarot card readings at the reception. "We all try to find magic in our lives, right?"
The most magical moment of her new married life? A very "cute coincidence" in the form of Daddario's six-year-old stepson named Rowan. "We told him, 'You know, Alex is playing a character named Rowan.' And he was like, 'But I'm Rowan!'" She laughs and adds, "It made me feel like this show is finding me as much as I'm finding it. It's always cool when that happens."
This article originally appeared in emmy magazine issue #4, 2023, under the title, "Magic Hour."