14-year-old Daniel DiMaggio went from starring in commercials at the age of eight to being the face of Young Superman in 2012, to now being a series regular on ABC's hit show 'American Housewife.' The California native chatted with Meaww on how he ventured into acting at a tender age and how he keeps at it with regular relaxation intervals on set, playing ping-pong with the cast and crew members.
The teen, who plays Oliver Otto, identifies himself with the character only to the extent of being ambitious and competitive. "Five years from now is a long time but hopefully, it’ll involve still working and going to college," he shared.
Giving us an insight into what's to come in season 3 of the 'American Housewife,' DiMaggio shared, now that Katie Otto "has a job as a party planner she has to fit in with them [neighborhood] even more. It leads to some funny situations as you see what kinds of things the local Westport people want for their parties. So, you’ll see her making adjustments between what she has to do for her job and how she deals with these personalities."
As for Oliver Otto, he will be growing and changing in the long haul, assured DiMaggio. On a personal note, however, DiMaggio plans for 2019 to include, hopefully, travel and landing a film role after 'American Housewife' wraps up in March. Hopefully, the show will return for a fourth season because playing the role of Oliver Otto is definitely DiMaggio's favorite; "as long as the show is going – my main plan is made," he said.
Oliver Otto is a charming character, who is smart beyond his years. With straight A's in your report card as well, we would like to know to what degree do you identify yourself with the character you play?
We have some important things in common but we are very different types of people. I’m more casual, into sports and not materialistic like Oliver. On the other hand, I am ambitious and want to compete. So, we are the same in that way.
You ventured into acting at the tender age of 8 mainly with commercials. What drew you to this career path and how do you plan on pursuing it further?
My parents are actors and writers and they just brought me along with them when they went on auditions. One time they were at their agency for a husband/wife voice over read and I was with them. The kid agent just happened to walk out while we were all waiting and asked my parents if he could “read” me. Five minutes later I had an agent. A few weeks later I booked my first commercial. That led to various TV guest spots, a pilot and finally 'American Housewife.' The show is a great experience and I also hope to do films. I’ve done a few movies but I want to do more.
So, I read that you enjoy playing matches of ping-pong on set with the cast and crew of 'American Housewife.' Could you give us a glimpse into how often that happens and who is your major contender?
When we have time between scenes we play. My main competition is the crew guys. There is some intense competition there. The other actors aren’t really into it much. It’s a great way to unwind on set.
It's been fun watching Katie Otto navigate her life, fitting in with wealthy people. What can we expect from season 3?
Now that she has a job as a party planner, she has to fit in with them even more. It leads to some funny situations as you see what kinds of things the local Westport people want for their parties. So, you’ll see her making adjustments between what she has to do for her job and how she deals with these personalities.
How challenging was it to learn ballet for the decision Oliver Otto took to get into Harvard?
At first, I didn’t really know much about it so I just went with it. The lessons are usually about twice a week and I find it to be a really good workout. I learn things that I can use in the show, but to be a full-on ballet dancer, you have to really do it all the time and devote yourself to it. Since I already have a full-time job, I do the best I can to make Oliver look like a ballet dancer. My main experience with sports before the show was with baseball and ballet is a much more demanding workout.
You played the young Superman in the series 'Supergirl' and it's almost everyone's dream to play a superhero. Was that on your bucket list? How did you feel playing that role? Please walk us through your audition process.
Yes, it’s very cool to be in the small club that has played Superman or in my case “young Kal-El.” Superheroes are huge and who knows maybe I’ll get a chance to play another one someday. Spiderman would be fun. In this case, they were looking for a kid who they thought might look like Superman as a kid. At the time I guess I had the right look. The fun part was being custom fitted for that costume and having the curl put into my hair. Once all that was in place it was fun. The cast was really great and I had a lot of fun.
Could you share with us your future plans and where do you see yourself in the next five years?
'American Housewife' is going great so I hope to be there for a while. It’ll be fun to see how Oliver grows and changes. Along the way, I hope I can fit in some work in movies. Five years from now is a long time, but hopefully, it’ll involve still working and going to college.
You have ample credits under your name including guest-starring on 'Burn Notice', 'Haunted Hathaways' and voicing on the animated series 'Clarence.' What has been your favorite role so far and why?
All of those roles were fun and gave me a chance to play different things, but I’d have to say Oliver Otto is my favorite because I get a chance to do a lot of things. It gives me a platform to grow. Also, it’s fun to be sarcastic and get really funny lines to say. Our writers are great.
What other roles and genres would you like to explore next?
I really want to stretch out dramatically. I love comedy and I’m lucky to be in such a funny show, but just for a change, it would be interesting to play something serious or some kind of thriller. The great thing is I’ve had a chance to do some dramatic stuff on 'American Housewife' so that’s great.
How do you juggle your work and school? What keeps you driven in both fields?
When I’m not working, I go to school and while I’m working on set I have to do (my studies) at least three hours a day. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes if I have a busy day, I have to move it to the next day but I always get it done. I have a great teacher and he keeps me focused. I’m driven in both because I want to be successful in both.
What are your plans for 2019?
I would love to land a film role when the show wraps in March. Maybe travel a little. And, then we’ll find out if the show comes back for season 4. As long as the show is going – my main plan is made.