Aubrey Plaza And Adam DiMarco Say They ‘Become’ ‘White Lotus’ Characters

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Warning: This post contains spoilers for “The White Lotus.”

Just like Season One, Season Two of “The White Lotus” begins at the end, when hotel staffers learn of a mysterious death on the property. And as with everything on “The White Lotus,” things get messy before it’s revealed who (or this time, who all) died — and how.

During this Sicily-set season, things feel like they might be about to blow from the start, as the active volcano Mt. Etna looms in the background of many scenes.

Aubrey Plaza, who plays the sarcastic, realist lawyer Harper Spiller, and Adam DiMarco, who portrays recent Stanford graduate and textbook Gen Z-er Albie Di Grasso, told TODAY about how the setting of the show — and the hype of “The White Lotus” itself — impacted their lives.

Adam DiMarco as Albie di Grasso in “The White Lotus.”HBO

“I think we all kind of became our characters while filming. We slowly morphed into their representations,” DiMarco said. “It’s like sometimes I’d see someone as their character.”

“We were living where we were shooting, so the lines got really blurry,” Plaza added.

Season Two, along with its new location in Sicily, features an entirely new cast of characters besides two familiar faces: the beloved Tanya McQuoid-Hunt (Emmy Award-winning Jennifer Coolidge) and her new husband, Greg Hunt (Jon Gries).

And while it’s set a different location and comprised of (mostly) different characters from Season’s One Hawaiian resort, the show preserves the first season’s format. Each set of vacationers have their own storylines with very little overlap.

Plaza’s character Harper is vacationing with her husband (Will Sharpe), his college roommate (Theo James) and his wife (Meghann Fahy), who all believe they have the great relationship.

But as the days tick by, the truth begins to reveal itself. Trouble comes when Plaza and Fahy’s characters take a getaway, and Sharpe and James’ characters stay at the hotel and have a wild night.

Will Sharpe as Ethan Spiller, Aubrey Plaza as Harper Spiller, Meghann Fahy as Daphne Sullivan, and Theo James as Cameron Sullivan
Will Sharpe as Ethan Spiller, Aubrey Plaza as Harper Spiller, Meghann Fahy as Daphne Sullivan, and Theo James as Cameron Sullivan in “The White Lotus.”HBO

“I think the whole show is setting up that something’s gonna go down because they’re very different,” Plaza says. “Harper and (her husband_ are not really in a good place at the beginning of the show, so the tension is really high. You just have no idea how that’s gonna play out, but it definitely plays out among the four of them, so you can only imagine what could go down.”

Plaza explained she was able to relate to her character, in part, because the show’s creator, Mike White, wrote the role with her in mind.

“There’s a lot of certain similarities with me and the character. Not completely, but I definitely like, relate to her,” Plaza says. “I mean, she’s married she has no kids, she’s a professional working woman — all those things make sense to me.”

Plaza married her husband and frequent collaborator Jeff Baena.

Another set of guests at the hotel are three generations of the Di Grasso family — DiMarco’s character Albie, Albie’s father Dominic (Michael Imperioli) and Dominic’s father Bert (F. Murray Abraham). The trio are on what was supposed to be a family vacation to explore their Sicilian heritage, though Dominic’s wife and daughter dropped out after they found out Dominic had been cheating — again.

Michael Imperioli, Adam DiMarco, F. Murray Abraham in "The White Lotus."
Michael Imperioli, Adam DiMarco, and F. Murray Abraham in “The White Lotus.”HBO

“I did feel somewhat of a familial connection with him and Murray,” DiMarco said of “Sopranos” star Imperioli. “He has such good, grounding energy to be around, especially since I was pretty anxious coming into the show. He was like an anchor, unmoored.”

When asked why he was eager to join the show, DiMarco answered, “Because it’s The White Lotus,’ you know?”

“I had been a fan of the show and so many of the people in it,” DiMarco continued. “It was a bit intimidating at first.”

Plaza agreed that she was “so scared” to join the cast, but she said the script was different enough from the first season that eventually the nerves went away.

She added that Coolidge was also key in easing new cast members’ nerves about joining a show that had so much hype. The show’s first season was nominated for 20 Emmy awards, winning five of them, and created a bit of a cult following its release in the summer of 2021.

“Jennifer Coolidge was very encouraging. She was good for morale,” Plaza said. “She was telling us like, ‘This is great!’ and she made us feel like we were doing a good job.”

Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya McQuoid-Hunt in "The White Lotus."
Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya McQuoid-Hunt in “The White Lotus.”HBO

Coolidge rounds out the last group of guests at the hotel, along with her assistant (Haley Lu Richardson), who quickly becomes a point of contention between her and her husband.

The only time all of the show’s characters are together in the first five episodes is in one of the opening scenes, where they are all traveling to the resort on a boat. Plaza said the scene was fun to film because the cast was able to get to know each other after filming other scenes for a few months.

Aubrey Plaza, Will Sharpe, Theo James, and Meghann Fahey in "The White Lotus."
Aubrey Plaza, Will Sharpe, Theo James, and Meghann Fahey in “The White Lotus.”HBO

“We were worried about Jennifer Coolidge though because she gets really seasick. So we were all kind of tending to her,” Plaza said. “She definitely barfed a lot.”

Plaza also shared the deeper meaning behind the scene where Harper is walking around in Noto, a town in southeastern Sicily, when she slowly realizes dozens of men are staring at her.

“It’s like an homage to ‘L’Avventura,’ which is an Italian movie starring Monica Vitti. We actually were shooting the exact location of that movie, and did the same shot that happens in that movie. So it was very iconic and it felt cool for me to get to do that because I love that movie,” Plaza said.

“But actually shooting all those guys was was was really strange,” she continued. “I just tried to block it out. It was definitely weird. And then there was also like, a crowd of people around us. So it was not only a bunch of creepy men looking — then there were just crowds of people also watching. It was bizarre. Felt very surreal.”

And as for the ending? Both Plaza and DiMarco told TODAY they both forgot someone even died.

“When you read the script you get caught up in the minutiae of the relationships, and I need to remind myself that someone dies,” DiMarco revealed. “I was surprised.”

“I was definitely shocked when I found out,” Plaza said. “But you do forget it, just like the show. You kind of forget it, but then it’s a lingering thing. That’s what makes the show so fun — you know it’s not going to end well.”

Season Two of “The White Lotus” premieres on HBO Max on Oct. 30.

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