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Alexandra Daddario's Nude Scene In True Detective Led To Her San Andreas Role

"The White Lotus" actress Alexandra Daddario has a small but vital role in Season 1 of HBO's "True Detective." She plays Lisa Tragnetti, a court stenographer who is having an affair with Detective Martin "Marty" Hart (Woody Harrelson) in 1995. The affair is tumultuous, to say the least. At one point, Marty attacks Lisa's new boyfriend in a jealous rage. The affair also causes some tension in Marty's work relationship with his partner Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey). Ultimately, Lisa tells Marty's wife Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) about the affair, leading her to leave him (although they later reconcile).

One notable scene for Daddario's character comes in Episode 2, "Seeing Things," in which Lisa appears nude during an intimate moment with Marty. It's the scene that confirms that Marty is having an affair, which, as laid out above, eventually leads to various repercussions for Marty.

As it turns out, that nude scene did more than just advance the plot — it also advanced Daddario's career. In an interview with Collider in July 2021, Daddario reflected on her time on "True Detective," including the reaction to the nude scene. "Getting naked on a show where I didn't have a huge role, I didn't know what to expect," she said. "And then of course that episode aired and [my manager] calls me in the morning after the episode aired and she was like, 'The phone's been ringing off the hook all morning. The phone won't stop ringing!' And all of a sudden, everyone in town wanted to meet with me and then I booked 'San Andreas.'"

Daddario knew that True Detective would be good for her career — but wasn't expecting such an instant response

In the Collider interview, Alexandra Daddario also discussed the audition process for "True Detective," during which the show's team expressed some interest in working with her, but it was for a different role (she didn't disclose which one). "I was like, 'Well, they're vaguely interested and I love these actors and I love Cary Fukunaga and I want to be in this show, so let me force them to hire me,'" the actor said. 

Daddario noted that she was so determined to land a part in "True Detective" because she thought it would look good on her resume to do a different kind of role. But, despite having an intuition that something different would benefit her career, she wasn't expecting the array of calls her agent got after the episode's nude scene aired. "No, I would have never expected that [reaction] from [playing Lisa]," she said. "It was tactical, but not that tactical."

The actress added that part of the reason that she didn't expect such an enthusiastic response to her part in "True Detective" is that she hadn't been invited to the show's premiere, which she assumed was because her role was just too small. However, that assumption changed in retrospect. "I didn't expect to be invited," she explained. "It was only afterwards in retrospect when I was at the Emmys that I was like, 'Wow, I'm a big enough part of this show to be invited to the Emmys on behalf of the show even though I'm not nominated.' But it was just something that I don't think anybody expected including myself. I really didn't expect people to have that reaction to that character the way that they did."

Daddario has nuanced feelings about the attention from fans

Alexandra Daddario's scenes on "True Detective" may have played a crucial part in advancing her career opportunities, but the actor has nuanced feelings about the fan attention she received from the role in retrospect. "I think that I hadn't been that aware of my sex appeal prior to that," the actor told Men's Journal in a 2022 interview. "I tried not to take it too seriously. I really love acting, in my heart I'm just a theater nerd, and I sort of took that and said, 'This is good for my career,' and embraced it."

Daddario went on to note that while she takes most of the enduring buzz from her role in "True Detective" — and other performances — in stride, there can be downsides to the attention. "I really love what I do," she explained. "I happen to have a lot of fun with getting dressed up and playing roles, and even on red carpets, I'm kind of playing a role. And it's great, it's fun, but I think it can be negative, some of the attention, and so I try to ignore some of the more negative aspects of it."