Alexandra Daddario Reveals How To Make 'AHS' Sex Scenes With Lady Gaga Less 'Awkward'
It seems like things are about to go down south, fast, for Alexandra Daddario's Natacha Rambova on "American Horror Story: Hotel."
Because unlike in real life, where the iconic Hollywood costume and set designer -- and wife of Rudolph Valentino -- died of scleroderma in her late 60s, the immortal, "AHS" version of Natacha is the latest target of Lady Gaga's scheming character The Countess. So, before TV-Natacha probably meets her bloody demise, MTV News chatted with Daddario to talk threesomes with a famous pop star, having a brother who is one of the "Shadowhunters," and of course, that Zac Efron and The Rock-led "Baywatch" remake.
MTV: We've seen you do some graphic sex scenes before, in "True Detective," but an "American Horror Story" threesome is something else entirely. Did you know that was coming when you signed on?
Alexandra Daddario: No, I didn’t know that off the bat. I saw that when I read the script, and I thought the whole backstory for how The Countess became who she was was very interesting. It was cool to be a part of that, and I liked how liberal and free the show was, and honest it is.
MTV: Is it different coming into a scene like that when you're working with one of the biggest pop stars in history?
Daddario: She made me feel very comfortable. I think it felt different, just in that I have a crazy deal of admiration for her and what she’s achieved, and who she is. She’s incredibly impressive, so it was very exciting to meet her and work with her in any capacity.
It's always very awkward to go into scenes like that... But Finn [Wittrock] was amazing as well, and they’d been doing it the whole season. We were all just figuring out what we were doing, it was very seasoned and business as usual, so it was very easy in some ways. Not easy necessarily -- but you just kind of do it, and you don’t think about it as much.
MTV: I spoke to an actor earlier this season, who did the first threesome in the premiere, and she said that Ryan Murphy produced every single thing; every move and thrust, etc. Was that your experience?
Daddario: No, that wasn’t my experience. That may be because it’s the difference between a season premiere, and a different director for a different episode. There’s a method to the madness in filmmaking, where everything’s very specifically laid out, the shots and what they need -- but there also can be a freedom to allowing the actors to find genuine moments.
So I think theres a good medium between those two things. It's difficult in a sex scene to sort of choreograph -- you can say, "Okay, now you kiss him, and now you do this and now you do that," but its easier sometimes to choreograph just the camera movements, but allow the actors to do whatever comes naturally.
MTV: What do you even talk about between takes when you're filming those scenes? I imagine it can get pretty awkward.
Daddario: I don’t think we did much! Theres was a lot of laughter, actually. For fight scenes or sex scenes -- and even for me sometimes in very intense crying scenes -- there will be moments where you’ll just sort of, [due to] the ridiculous nature of it... There’s a joke, or you laugh, or that kind of thing.
I think we shot it at the end of the day and everyone was pretty tired, but there was a little bit of lightness and laugher. You just try not to take it too seriously and try to break the tension if there is any...
MTV: I heard you spent five hours in the makeup chair -- we're huge fans of Eryn Krueger Mekash and her team's work. Do you remember what they put on you to make you look like a feral ancient vampire-zombie?
Daddario: They’re completely brilliant. There’s different layers. They start with one layer, and then they do a papier-mâché kind of layer. It's very precise the way they draw on you, and the coloring, and all that kind of stuff. I had to wear contacts at one point, and that was very specific -- you go see an eye doctor, and they test it out to see if you can wear contacts; what your reaction is going to be. Then they try all these different contacts on you; there’s somebody on set whose specifically the contact person, and they follow you around with drops and make sure you’re okay.
That whole process is always way more complicated than I thought it was going to be... You have to go and get a face cast, and they make multiples that are exactly like your face. As an actor you feel different, you almost feel like there’s a level of protection against you -- you don’t feel like yourself, so it almost frees you up in some ways. You feel like your true self is hidden, so you become the character.
MTV: I have to ask about the upcoming "Baywatch" remake. Obviously, it's a show from a different time, and we're coming out of a year that marked serious change in Hollywood in terms of women speaking out about feminism, the wage gap, and so on and so forth. Are you guys then taking pains, to make this a more "modern" "Baywatch?"
Daddario: There’s going to be as much gratuitous shots of men as there will be of women. I think that is something that everybody is aware of, and I think the script is very smart, and very fun, and very funny. It's going to be a fun movie like the show was fun, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I don’t think they’re going to hire Dwayne [Johnson] and Zac [Efron] and then not utilize the muscles.
MTV: We recently caught up with your brother Matthew, who says he's still getting used to things like seeing himself photoshopped on Disney princesses now that he's in "Shadowhunters." Have you given him any advice, being that you have experience with fandoms from "Percy Jackson?"
Daddario: I haven’t seen him being photoshopped! I’ve seen tons of photos of him, but not photoshopped onto Disney princesses, which I have to go Google now. I saw him last week... He knows what he's doing. He's a very smart guy. I’m so proud of him, and I think that as far as dealing with some of the weirdness that comes with what the show is going to be for him, I think that he has a great sense of humor about it.
MTV: So back to "AHS"... it seems like you and Gaga are going to get violent next week.
Daddario: What you saw from the previews... Yeah, I think there’s some exciting stuff coming up. You never really know what’s going to happen with your character. It's just a really exciting role, because you never know what’s going to happen, and there’s always something very different to explore... There’s a lot of cool stuff in store for the fans, and I’m excited to be watching along with everyone else.