The White Lotus stunned the nation with a first season that was intelligent, provocative, ominous, and hilarious. Will the second season match the deliciously dark highs and lows with a (mostly) new cast? I was blessed with the opportunity to sit down with The White Lotus Season 2 stars Aubrey Plaza and Will Sharpe to talk about their experience filming the series and what fans should expect.
1. What was your first impression of each other?
Ah, my first impression of Will was that he seemed really smart, and really thoughtful and that he really loved movies and had really good taste in movies.
Yeah, I guess, like, I was really relieved and appreciative of the fact that Aubrey treated me as an equal and not like some random guy from the UK that had been accidentally cast in the show (Aubrey laughs). But yeah, I guess some of our earliest conversations were about movies. That was how we started.
2. What were your auditions like for The White Lotus Season 2?
I actually didn't have to audition. I somehow skipped that part, because I knew (Mike White, the show's creator). Mike and I were friends before this. So, he kind of knew enough about me that he just kind of scooted me right in there. So yeah, I was fortunate to not have to do that. But I would have done it, if they asked me.
I got asked to tape for it. In the first round, I just kind of did it as well as I could, but didn't really think anything of it. So, it was a shot in the dark. And I was surprised to get to do it again, more thoroughly. Finally, I read through it with Mike and the producers. And then, even when they offered it to me, I still sort of felt like they made some sort of mistake (laughs).
3. So, your characters appear to be caught in some kind of financial or economic narrative that, to me, felt like a bigger wink at society as a whole. Can you explain the dynamic of your relationship this season?
Our storyline is two couples that are on vacation. Ethan (Will Sharpe) and Harper (Plaza) are kind of just coming into a lot of money. Like, it's a new kind of world for them to be taking these luxurious vacations with these, like billionaire kind of people. And then, Daphne (Meghann Fahy) and Cameron (Theo James) kind of come from that world. And so, the dynamic is just a little tense, because Harper doesn't even really know them that well, and she feels like, you know, that we have nothing in common with them. And I think that money part of it really kind of throws them for a loop because it makes them question like, 'Who are we, how are we with money?' Or, you know, 'What does it all mean?' So, it lends itself to a lot of different dynamics because money makes things complicated.
I would agree with all of that. Just suddenly coming into all this money that sort of changed the surface of some of how they are as a couple, and they're suddenly on this very luxurious vacation in which it feels like we wouldn't have been before. And that along with, as Aubrey said, being set against a very different couple. And being in a different country. I think all of those things force them to confront the cracks in their relationship that they've been able to just kind of gloss over until this point.
4. Is there a character from The White Lotus Season 1 that you feel like your character this season would be friends with?
Oooh, I love that question. Well, I'm, like, trying to go through all the characters in my brain (laughs).
Me, too, I'm not sure.
Maybe Harper would be, like, work friends with Connie Britton's character. I feel like they work in the same building or something. And they, like, see each other in the lobby and get coffee together. ... They're like acquaintances. What a boring answer, Will, have a better answer than me.
You know the teenage son who rebels against his family? I can see him interning at Ethan's tech company.
Interning? (both laugh). Ethan and Harper are so obsessed with work! Why are we so obsessed with work?!
5. This is gonna be my final question...but was there a scene between your characters that you enjoyed filming the most?
I don't know about a specific scene, but in a funny way, probably, like, the hardest scenes to shoot are the most rewarding. You know, we really had to be vulnerable with each other. You know, had to have the kind of trust in those scenes, where it felt like Mike was really in the script, diving deep into the gnarliest, messiest aspects of the relationship. They were the most fun, in a weird way, even though they were the hardest.
Yeah, I agree. We had some pretty epic, two-hander scenes in that hotel room, and some of them felt like a play. You know, 'cause they were really long scenes. And I think the longer the scene, the more fun it is for me, always.