When it was announced that The White Lotus universe would be introducing Aubrey Plaza, fans were naturally excited at the prospect of Plaza’s sarcastic character having a face-off with Jennifer Coolidge‘s Emmy-winning character Tanya.
In reality, Plaza says that the character was written for her with her in mind, in only a way that her close friend Mike White could be able to, and that made it her hardest role yet. “Without going into personal details, Mike knows me very, very well, on a way more intimate level than most people know me, and a lot of what he wrote was informed by just knowing me on that intimate level,” Plaza told EW.
The former Parks and Rec actress said that playing the role was intense due to the similarities between her and her character, Harper. “It was really intense for me, reading it and shooting it. I relate to this character more than any character I’ve ever played. It’s really, really close to home. It felt very naked. It was pretty devastating and hard.”
“Mike’s writing is just so subtle but there’s such a deep truth to it that just crushes me,” Plaza added, explaining that it was hard for her to get out of her character’s mindset when she wasn’t working. “I wanted so badly to do a good job, and Harper’s journey, there’s a lot of moments in this season that felt very nightmare-ish to me. It just felt real, and shaking that off was a big obstacle for me. I don’t regret it because I wanted to give Mike everything, no matter what happened. But I’ll be terrified and horrified to see it.”
Still, the second season of the hit series will not follow the same plot devices as the acclaimed first season, which should keep viewers on their toes. “It’s more juicy, it feels like the stakes are higher and there’s more intense drama and plot twists than the first season,” Plaza explained. “Italy has this kind of machismo culture that we’re thrust into and when you have a bunch of Americans going to Europe, there’s always that discourse with the puritanical American style versus the Italians who just seem to be much more open and sexual, to be blunt.” We all know how hard it can be when a bunch of Americans go to Italy.
Season two of The White Lotus premieres October 30th on HBO.