Alexandra Daddario has played a half-Olympic god, a Baywatch lifeguard and horror film survivor, but none of them have been as eccentric as her role as narcissist pop star Dana Lee in Katharine O’Brien’s Lost Transmissions.
The film, which premiered on March 13, follows Hannah (Juno Temple,) a shy songwriter, whose record producer mentor, Theo (Simon Pegg), lapses on his medication for schizophrenia and becomes a danger to himself and others. As Dana Lee, a silver-haired pop singer who wears thigh-high boots and doesn’t care about Hannah’s life outside of her writing the next top 40 hit, Daddario provides the much-needed humor for such a serious and sensitive film. “My character is the center of her own movie,” she says.
Ahead of Lost Transmissions’ release, Daddario talked to StyleCaster about how Lady Gaga’s confidence inspired Dana Lee, what she learned about mental health from the film and how Percy Jackson changed her life 10 years after the first film premiered.
On how Dana Lee is different than any other character she’s played
It was a chance be someone completely different, which all my roles are to a certain extent, but this one was so much farther than that. It was more of a grounded caricature of somebody. I got to wear acrylic nails and crazy hair and crazy outfits.
My character is the center of her own movie. In her mind, she’s walking in, she wants something from this girl. It doesn’t matter what this girl is going through. The rest of the movie is irrelevant to me.
On how Lady Gaga inspired Dana’s Lee’s confidence
It was a combination of things [that inspired Dana Lee]. I could say Lady Gaga. I’ve worked with Lady Gaga, and Lady Gaga is so empathetic and kind and lovely and supportive. But there are elements of the confidence that she has.
We all have been touched by mental illness in some way.
On how fame and money can sometimes lead to narcissism
There’s something to becoming rich and famous in general that can bring out narcissistic traits. If it happens when you’re young and everybody is telling you “Yes” and everyone tells you “You’re the best,” you can lose perspective on things and you can become very narcissistic and lack empathy.
I have a friend, who every room she walks in, it seems everything around her is irrelevant. That’s a certain mental illness in its own way.
On what the film taught her about mental illness
I have people in my family who have mental illness. We all have been touched by mental illness in some way. With any illness, it can be a lack of compassion. It can be a lack of empathy. It can be a lack of understanding. It can be frustration, anger, all of that. I think this script really dealt with that in an honest way.
On Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief’s 10-year anniversary
It feels like yesterday. It feels like yesterday! The movie is near and dear to my heart. The people I met on that movie, I still know to this day. I love them dearly. They’re like family to me.
I’m incredibly emotionally connected to that franchise because I was so young when it happened, and it kickstarted my career. The fact that it was 10 years ago is absolutely wild to me. It makes me feel old. It’s a very strange poignant feeling.