If you’re not watching the hit ABC comedy, American Housewife, then you’re missing out on one of Hollywood’s funniest young actors Daniel DiMaggio. On the show, Daniel plays Oliver Otto, the middle son of Katie and Greg Otto. I got the chance to talk with 14-year-old Daniel about growing up around the business, his audition process for American Housewife, having to learn ballet, his love of baseball and so much more! Keep reading to see what he had to say.
Tell me a little bit about how you got into acting.
First of all, my parents are both actors and writers. It started by being around the business. I did little things when I was small and then started auditioning for commercials when I was nine. That quickly led to some guest spot work and a pilot. And then American Housewife happened.
Was there a specific person or experience that you would credit with helping you decide acting is what you wanted to do for a living?
My manager, who is a family friend, was always encouraging me and saw it before I did. Also, my commercial agent in the beginning by sending me out for my first auditions. I gained confidence right away.
You’re still super young with a long acting career ahead of you, but do you have a personal acting “bucket list” of things you want to accomplish in your career. If so, what are some of the things on it?
I really want to do feature films. I’d like to explore dramatic work and work with some of the best directors like [Martin] Scorsese and [Steven] Spielberg.
Let’s talk about American Housewife. What was your audition process like for the show?
I auditioned for the part and was immediately in the mix although I didn’t know it at the time. I ended up going in a total of 4 times. Each time there were less people in the lobby and more people in the room. It was down to three people auditioning for Oliver when I got the job.
Tell me about your character, Oliver Otto. What is he like?
He’s very materialistic and ambitious. He’s very competitive and fits in perfectly to the atmosphere of Westport. He has specific goals and is working hard to get them. Using ballet to get into Harvard is just one of his schemes.
Would you say Oliver is more similar or different than you and why?
We’re similar in our personalities but we’re not motivated by the same goals. But I do want to go to a really good college. Also, I don’t dress like him. I prefer more casual clothes.
This show features such a well-cast ensemble. I mean we’ve got Katy Mixon, Diedrich Bader, Ali Wong, and Meg Donnelly. What is it like working with everyone?
I’m really lucky to work with people who are so experienced in comedy and sitcom specifically. The show is built around Katy and she is the rock. I’ve learned so much from working with her and Diedrich. All of my castmates are great and we’re having a wonderful time.
Ballet is such a big part of Oliver’s story. What was it like having to learn ballet? How much rehearsal time do you put in outside of what you do on-set?
At first, I didn’t realize how athletic it would be but it is a great workout. I was seriously into baseball before the show and I never really was stretched that much athletically. For the stuff that I do on the show, I usually workout a few times a week whether we’re in production or not.
Anything you can tease about Oliver in the next couple of episodes?
There will be more dancing and maybe even some singing – and always plenty of scheming.
Last question — we’re called Talk Nerdy With Us because we all have an inner-nerd. What is something you are currently nerding out about?
I like video games – especially Madden. I’m also on a few Fantasy Football teams. I like stats, so I also really like baseball.