Alexandra Daddario: ‘I have the opportunity to entertain people’
In Can You Keep A Secret? the romcom is back, its star tells Laura Harding
Alexandra Daddario grew up with romantic comedies. She was still a child during the heyday of the classic rom-com, the ones starring Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan and Sandra Bullock.
“I loved Notting Hill, Never Been Kissed, the teen movies of the 90s,” she remembers. “Pretty Woman, When Harry Met Sally, the dynamic quality of those films.
“Love is not a perfect line, life gets involved and all these films have that, what is holding them apart when they are really in love?
“I think that is very relatable and very romantic.”
Daddario is now 34 and best known for her role as Annabeth Chase in the Percy Jackson film series, as well as her turns in San Andreas and the recent Baywatch re-boot, and was beyond excited when she got a chance to star in a rom-com of her own.
Based on the 2003 novel by British author Sophie Kinsella, who also penned Confessions Of A Shopaholic, Can You Keep A Secret? stars Daddario as Emma Corrigan, a young woman stuck in a dead-end job as a marketing manager at an organic food company, and languishing in a dreary relationship with a boyfriend who never wears trousers.
Things take a turn when she is knocking back the drinks on a flight back to New York after a disastrous business trip and some terrifying turbulence convinces her the plane is about to crash.
She ends up spilling all her deepest, darkest secrets to the stranger next to her, thinking the end is imminent, only to find they have landed safely and the handsome man (played by Teen Wolf star Tyler Hoechlin) sitting next to her is actually the CEO of her company.
If you’ve ever seen a romcom, you might have a vague idea of what happens next.
“I hadn’t read the book before so when I read the script and I really loved it and I thought it had so much heart,” Daddario says.
“We tried to update it by bringing in more of what it’s like to be a woman now.
“We wanted to deal with modernising the workplace environment for a woman, and having a relationship with someone who owns the company and what that means.
“Emma is sort of coming of age, she’s not 30 yet but almost 30 and she’s still working through this and that and I really tried to make that clear, that you can be yourself and be insecure.
“You’re still on your way and that is all learning, you’re not going to come out of the first thing knowing exactly what you’re doing in every situation, you have to grow up and make mistakes in order to figure it out.”
In fact some elements of the over-sharing felt painfully familiar to her.
“It would just be an embarrassing situation she can walk away from, but this is something she is confronted with every day, so I certainly can relate to that.
“I think we all have had too much wine and sent the wrong email or said the wrong thing to someone and we’ve all humiliated ourselves from time to time, and the idea is that it’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to be yourself and ultimately the other person doesn’t think about it in the same way that you do.”
Romantic comedies had been something of an abandoned genre in recent years, but the success of Crazy
Rich Asians and Netflix hits such as To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Set It Up, heralded a resurgence in the art form after years in the wilderness.
“I think what happened in the 90s and the early 2000s is we had incredible romcoms that people love and still watch to this day, but I think maybe they became too formulaic and it became negative.
“It’s not the genre that is bad. Formulaic films are OK, they work really well if you enjoy them, but you can’t have them all be formulaic because then people get tired of them.”
But now Daddario is hoping that the comforting embrace of a romantic comedy will provide some relief to viewers stuck at home.
“I think it is escapism. It depends how you’re feeling and what you’re looking for, but I know I want to watch something funny and romantic.
“What I love about what I do is I have the opportunity to entertain people and to make them feel, and I think we are all looking to feel and laugh and that is what this film does and that was our goal.
“We really tried to find heart and humour and I think if you’re looking for that right now, and you need a little break, and are looking for a funny heartfelt movie with Tyler shirtless and us making out from time to time, not to give away parts of the film, then this is the film for you.”
“The idea is that it’s OK to make mistakes and it’s OK to be yourself”
● Can You Keep A Secret? is available for digital download now.