A lead role in a fantasy blockbuster has certainly proved an effective launching pad for starlets lately (see Kristen Stewart in “Twilight” and Emma Watson in the Harry Potter series). That’s good news for up-and-comer Alexandra Daddario, who appears in the big-budget film “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” which hits theaters in February.

This story first appeared in the December 29, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Based on a best-selling book series by Rick Riordan about a boy who discovers he is a descendant of Greek gods, “Percy” stars Hollywood heavies including Uma Thurman, Rosario Dawson, Pierce Brosnan, Catherine Keener and Steve Coogan. (Seventeen-year-old newcomer Logan Lerman plays the flick’s title role.) “Greek gods are so human in so many ways — they love and they hate and they get jealous — and that’s what makes the stories about them so exciting,” explains the actress.

At 23, Daddario hasn’t exactly been pounding the pavement for too long. The New York City native began acting in commercials in elementary school before landing steadier work on “All My Children” at 16. (She transferred from tony Upper East Side all-girls’ school Brearley to the Professional Children’s School to focus on the business full time.) Daddario also appears as Kate in “White Collar,” USA Network’s new crime caper series, which returns in January.

Off screen, the actress is adjusting to life in Los Angeles, where she just relocated, and is enjoying some of the new tricks she picked up on the set of “Percy,” like archery and fencing. “Though I don’t know if I could get into an actual sword fight if I had the chance,” she admits.