Home Movie The White Lotus Exec Producer Teases Season Three in Thailand – The Hollywood Reporter

The White Lotus Exec Producer Teases Season Three in Thailand – The Hollywood Reporter

The White Lotus Exec Producer Teases Season Three in Thailand – The Hollywood Reporter


David Bernad, Mike White’s longtime producing accomplice, obtained his first Emmy win, for excellent restricted sequence, for season considered one of The White Lotus. Because the Sicilian follow-up prepares to doubtlessly dominate the drama classes this fall, Bernad chats with THR about shifting the hit sequence throughout continents, killing off Jennifer Coolidge and a style of what to anticipate for season three’s bounce to Thailand.

David Bernad

David Bernad

Manny Carabel/Getty Photos

Did you get the inexperienced gentle for season two after wrapping season one?

No, it was actually solely after the present got here [out]. After the expertise of creating the present, and audiences responding to it, Mike then was dedicated to doing a second season. And HBO got here to Mike and stated, “What do you wish to do subsequent?” He stated, “One other season of White Lotus.” They jumped at it. We scouted, mainly, from Rome south, all by way of the Amalfi Coast, Ravello, Positano, Portofino, the north, after which we went to Sicily. Actually, what it was — that lodge in Taormina, the 4 Seasons, is an unimaginable lodge, simply extremely fascinating. We have been strolling round [on] a tour, and there have been all these statues, these heads, which is a theme within the season. Mike requested the tour information, “What are these heads?” He defined what the teste di moro have been, and talked in regards to the historical past and what they stand for, which is admittedly the story of the sexual politics of women and men and the way deep that runs within the tradition of Sicily. I believe that was the spark for Mike that then led to the second season. What actually makes Mike such a particular screenwriter — he actually went and lived it. He moved to Taormina. He lived there for 3 or 4 months. He noticed the island and met individuals and had his personal expertise.

When do the casting decisions begin to emerge — how quickly in that course of do you guys have conversations about actors like Aubrey Plaza?

Jennifer Coolidge was all the time coming again. Aubrey’s somebody that we’ve had an extended relationship with; Mike and her are shut buddies. We have been going to do a film collectively at one level that fell aside due to COVID. He’s all the time beloved writing for her. Because the story took form, it grew to become clear that he wrote it for Aubrey. That was very early on. After which we began filling within the items because the scripts got here in.

How did taking pictures season two examine to season one?

After I arrived in Italy, January of ’22, Mike had been there since October, November. COVID was nonetheless a factor — in Italy, they actually observe the principles. I might be strolling down the road, and there’d be individuals alone in a automobile sporting a masks. The massive distinction, although, was we weren’t in a bubble. We have been capable of go away the lodge and reside considerably regular lives, the place in season one, we have been trapped with one another. This sense of, “Oh, I can get away from the individuals I’m aggravated with. I don’t must spend each waking second with them.” That was very nice. The cultural expertise for everybody concerned was unimaginable. There was clearly a language barrier. The native crew, the native forged [had] unimaginable endurance with us as we have been moving into their world.

What did the native hiring course of seem like?

We have been related with two casting administrators in Rome, Francesco Vedovati and Barbara Giordani, who’re unimaginable individuals. That they had labored on Fargo. Mike and I spent three or 4 days in Rome, doing reside auditions. Once we met Beatrice Grannò, Simona Tabasco, Sabrina Impacciatore, it was simply apparent, they have been simply so excellent for the elements. At first it was a problem as a result of they’re auditioning in Italian. Mike and I had by no means forged actors talking a special language. However the best way we forged all of the elements, it’s a sense of: They only embody the character. There’s a studying curve by way of how issues are executed on Italian units. The primary couple of weeks have been a little bit rocky. The Italian crew, on Friday nights, would all the time throw a celebration within the lodge. And they might be out dancing late. I bear in mind it was the second or third weekend of the shoot, and Mike and I went to the celebration. I believe the crew, then, have been like, “OK, these outsiders are considered one of us.” And that was the start of once we actually began to jell.

What I believe we’re going to do going ahead is, there’s an Italian crew we’re going to carry with us to Thailand. So we’re going to have Thai crew, Italian crew, American crew. After which if we’re fortunate sufficient to do one other season, we’ll have [crew who are] Thai, Italian, American, wherever we find yourself. I believe simply having a melting pot of various individuals is one thing that we’re actually enthusiastic about.

What was filming that climactic sequence with Jennifer taking pictures up the boat like?

Earlier than he wrote the scripts, I had a way of what the climax can be. I knew that Jennifer was going to die. I didn’t know the main points of how we received there. After I learn that script, I used to be blown away. And the rapid thought is: “How are we going to tug this off the place it feels grounded and feels actual?” I believe Mike is a genius. He all the time had this imaginative and prescient of the digicam being on her face, and enjoying not the violence of it however the emotionality of what she’s going by way of, and being on her as that scene is going on. I believe we discovered find out how to thread the needle for it to really feel humorous but in addition heartbreaking, but in addition scary. I actually give Mike all credit score for that, by way of having that imaginative and prescient on the very starting, of find out how to pull it off in digicam. Capturing that scene was actually unhappy, for all of us, the entire sequence of her dying. Clearly, Jennifer is considered one of our greatest buddies, and Mike and I’ve identified her for nearly 20 years.

How has it been prepping on your third season?

I’ll say it was very comparable [to previous seasons]. Mike and I scouted in January, February of this yr. The thought was we’d find yourself in Japan, which was a rumor that was on-line. Each of our goals are to movie in Japan. Once we went to Thailand, we had an identical expertise that we’ve had in Sicily, the place there was simply one thing in regards to the accommodations that we noticed but in addition the expertise of the tradition of the individuals there. It felt so particular, in the best way that we wanted for season three. There’s a heat, and it’s thrilling that Thailand hasn’t actually been depicted in the best way that we’re going to try to depict it.

Did you go into scouting this time with a theme in thoughts?

There was a normal sense of desirous to discover Jap philosophies and faith. And the expertise we had in Thailand undoubtedly additional knowledgeable what the potential story can be in a deeper thematic. What makes Mike such a particular author and creator is that he actually ingests and takes in his setting. Mike’s a humanist — he loves individuals, he loves highlighting completely different cultures and, actually, outsiders. I really feel like every time he spends time in a spot, he takes in every thing, and it comes by way of in the work.

Interview edited for size and readability.

This story first appeared in an August stand-alone concern of The Hollywood Reporter journal. To obtain the journal, click on right here to subscribe.



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