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Catharine Daddario smiles at a press event as she looks over her shoulder

10 Questions With ‘Donna: Stronger Than Pretty’ Actor Catharine Daddario

As Sybil in Donna: Stronger Than Pretty, actress Catharine Daddario is a delightful addition to an ensemble portraying the empowering – and harrowing – true story of filmmaker Jaret Martino’s mother, DonnaMarie. A story about the struggle of living up to the traditions and expectations of her Italian roots while chasing the American Dream. A story about the horrors of domestic violence. But also one of hope, courage and strength.

Check out our interview with Catharine Daddario below:

 

Tell us about landing the role of Sybil in the movie:

Catharine: It was a self-submission audition then I met with director Jaret Martino and we hit it off. I believed what he’s doing is inspired by his mum, a true story that some people are nervous to talk about. I’m really happy to have been in it.  Jaret partnered with the National Coalition Towards Ending Domestic Violence, so getting the go-ahead from an organisation that does so much good is obvious really. Hopefully this film will encourage people to speak out about domestic violence.

 

Are you anything like Sybil?

Catharine: Sybil is Sassy. I definitely have some of that, maybe softer around the edges as she’s just looking for a good time (laughs). Her upbringing has made her protective of herself. I believe I might be judgmental at times to protect me and my friends.

 

Did you get a chance to meet the real Donna?

Catharine: No, unfortunately. A lot of cast members did. Hopefully everyone gets to know her through the movie. She has quite an effect on everyone.

 

There’s a very awkward scene your character is involved in when Donna meets the family. Have you ever been involved in a similar situation?

Catharine: (laughs) Yes! Not exactly like that. But certainly I’ve been in awkward dinners. Particularly meeting new boyfriends of girlfriends!

 

The movie spans three decades. Tell us what it was like wearing the fashions of the various eras:

Catharine: The wardrobe department was so elaborate! I was blown away by all the period essentials that Sybil got to wear! They put me in a tiny leather skirt. I was resistant at first saying ‘No, I can’t wear that!’ (Laughs) Now I’m wearing similar little skirts. Also, I loved the big hair they gave me. In one scene it was gigantic! Now I feel the need to tease mine all the time. I love it! I kind of want to hang out in the 80s. I was born in the 90s at the tail end, when things were flaming out from then.

 

Why is it important for people to watch this film?

Catharine: Firstly, the case and crew were amazingly impressive but the film has something for everyone. Costumes are just great, the acting and directing are top of the game. There are so many characters in it, you’ll connect with someone. It’s really for anyone who’s experienced domestic violence, any woman who’s ever felt silenced or judged or sadly a victim It’s an important movie to watch because we need to change the dialogue around domestic violence. It may just spark something you weren’t expecting or spring up a conversation.

 

Were you always destined to become a performer given it runs in the family?

Catharine: Yes, I think so. Actually, I had a speech impediment growing up so I thought theatre would be a good way to help with that issue so I started around seventeen years ago now, at a repertory company. All three of us, me, Alex (sister Alexandra Daddario) and Matt (brother Matthew Daddario) love doing it and evolving through projects.

 

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Do you have a favourite out of your brother or sister when it comes to watching their work?

Catharine: Ooooooh I don’t know! (Laughs) Alex’s is “Percy Jackson” and Matt is on “Why Women Kill” which is star-studded. I like a bit of whimsy. My siblings are quite varied in their work!

 

How do you pick which projects to be a part of?

Catharine: I love all the movies from independents to blockbusters, surrealist films and romance. I watch everything. If a friend says, ‘Hey, I want you to be in my film or read my script,’ I generally think I’ll do it because they’re talented to me. Generally, of course, script reading before anything else. One of the things I have coming up soon, I joined years ago. It was so great, I immediately believed in it. Donna was the same. I could totally see it.

 

If you hadn’t gone down the acting path, what would you be doing instead?

Catharine: I tried journalism (laughs). I think I would still try something within the industry. Arts in general, I adore. I’ve worked in museums. I also really like science so I may’ve gone to school to be a physics teacher. I love science! It’s so fun!

 

If you or anyone you know needs support, please contact “1800 RESPECT” in Australia and for our international readers, please reach out to your local helpline. 

Donna: Stronger Than Pretty, available on demand across digital platforms.

(Feature Image Credit: Sergi Alexander/WireImage via Getty Images)

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