How to Get Cast on ‘The White Lotus’

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Photo Source: Mario Perez/HBO

The cast of “The White Lotus” Season 1 checked out (in more ways than one) last summer, but HBO’s murder mystery dramedy will soon be taking reservations again for Season 2. Created, written, and directed by Mike White (“The School of Rock”), the hit series is filled with dark humor and cringeworthy characters—making it an instant success among fans and critics alike. If you want to be part of White’s social satire, we’ve got you covered. This primer tells you everything you need to know—from the casting process to audition advice—to secure your spot in the cast of “The White Lotus.”

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What is “The White Lotus” about?

Right from the opening scene, viewers learn that before their one-week stay comes to an end, one of the hotel’s guests won’t be making it home alive. The characters’ plights demonstrate how privilege and wealth exist alongside tragedy and despair, as each comes to grips with their own struggles. As the staff caters to the guests’ every whim, the series proves that money cannot buy happiness, from one newlywed’s realization that she has become a trophy wife to a longtime couple renegotiating their power dynamic. 

Who is in the ensemble of “The White Lotus”?

The Season 1 cast includes:

  • Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya McQuoid
  • Connie Britton as Nicole Mossbacher
  • Alexandra Daddario as Rachel Patton
  • Murray Bartlett as Armond
  • Fred Hechinger as Quinn Mossbacher
  • Jake Lacy as Shane Patton
  • Brittany O’Grady as Paula
  • Natasha Rothwell as Belinda Lindsey
  • Sydney Sweeney as Olivia Mossbacher
  • Steve Zahn as Mark Mossbacher
  • Lukas Gage as Dillon
  • Molly Shannon as Kitty Patton

Per Deadline, Coolidge will return to the series. The outlet also confirmed that “Sopranos” star Michael Imperioli will be checking in for Season 2. The Emmy winner has signed on as a series regular, starring as Dominic Di Grasso, a man who visits the hotel with his father (F. Murray Abraham) and son (Adam DiMarco). Aubrey Plaza, Tom Hollander, and Haley Lu Richardson are also on board for the second season.

How does the casting process work for “The White Lotus”?

Per Vanity Fair, when they were casting Season 1, the show’s team had to think outside the box in order to adapt to pandemic protocols. Much of the ensemble was cast based on writer-director Mike White’s initial visions for particular characters, while others were asked to audition via self-tape.

The self-taping process helped Murray Bartlett land the role of resort manager Armond. “It really was a brilliant, brilliant audition,” casting director Meredith Tucker told the Los Angeles Times. “Murray did it in his natural [Australian] accent. He captured the obsequiousness of the character, but there was also something else going on underneath that yielded a really interesting performance. He just got the tone so perfectly.”

In Vanity Fair, Tucker said that “Murray showed some really beautiful moments in his additional audition where you could see that he wasn’t just this smiling guy. There was much more complexity going on than initially meets the eye.”

When does filming for “The White Lotus” Season 2 start?

Although there’s no confirmation that “The White Lotus” Season 2 has begun filming, we do know that the next installment will take place in Sicily, where viewers will follow vacationers at another White Lotus property. According to Variety, the first season, which took place in Hawaii, was filmed at the Four Seasons Resort Maui. Sources close to the show say that another Four Seasons Hotel—the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace—will serve as the setting for Season 2. The hotel is closed to guests until April 1.

“Mike [White] has once again delivered a quintessential HBO show, and it’s the talk of the town,” HBO executive vice president of programming Francesca Orsi said when the show was renewed, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “We were thrilled to hear where he wanted to go next after closing this epic chapter in Hawaii and can’t wait to keep following him wherever he takes us.”

Where can you find “The White Lotus” casting calls and auditions?

As of now, there are no open casting calls for Season 2. But be prepared to pack your bags when the show is casting again, as writer-director Mike White told Entertainment Weekly that future installments of the series will likely also take place abroad.

"We would go somewhere different, because there's no way we could be able to afford the Four Seasons in Maui—not in a pandemic," White explained. "So, yeah, it would have to be ‘The White Lotus: Kyoto’ or something. Which would be fun, too, because we could get into culture clash ideas and stuff like that.”

For the latest on upcoming casting calls, keep your eyes on our casting section, and check out this list of similar HBO and Showtime shows that are currently looking for talent.

Who is the casting director for “The White Lotus”?

Veteran casting director Meredith Tucker cast the first season of the series alongside Katie Doyle. Tucker has cast hit series including “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” and “Veep,” and films like “Eighth Grade” and “In the Loop.” The CD was particularly crunched for time when casting “The White Lotus” Season 1. She told Vanity Fair that White wrote the script with an eye toward specific actors; for instance, he always had Jennifer Coolidge in mind to play heiress Tanya McQuoid. That left Tucker with only about a month to fill out the remaining cast. 

Tucker also had to deal with the fact that the world was in the midst of strict COVID-19 lockdowns. Instead of traditional in-person meetups and group reads, she had actors audition via self-tape—a practice that is now common in the industry. “We didn’t do chemistry reads,” she told the outlet. “We really lucked out.”

Bartlett believes that the unconventional circumstances helped to foster bonds among the ensemble. “You definitely kind of find your rhythm when you start working together, particularly when you don’t have any rehearsal or table read and are just on the fly,” he told Vanity Fair. “We were immediately kind of bonded, because it was such a unique situation with the pandemic. We all got pulled out of our COVID pods and taken to Hawaii—to this beautiful place with these great scripts, with this amazing group of people. That was the jumping-off point, you know? So that was kind of a great place to start.”

What are the best audition tips for landing a role on “The White Lotus”?

Tucker told us that even if you aren’t actively auditioning, there’s no reason for actors to remain dormant. “It’s always hard to get your foot in the door, but I think the thing that’s kind of great now is that there are so many means to make your own product if you have a digital camera,” she noted. “If you aren’t getting those jobs, I think writing stuff for yourself or working with friends to make your own product is always a great way A) to keep yourself busy and B) to have something to show people.”

If you ever have the chance to audition for Tucker herself, know that she likes to give everyone a chance to show what they have to offer. “I’ve had instances where someone will come in for me and will be completely and utterly wrong, but at least they’re interesting,” she explained. For instance, when she was working on “Entourage,” Tucker said that Rhys Coiro, who eventually played Billy Walsh, initially tried out for an agent role that simply didn’t fit his vibe. But when she “needed an insane, narcissistic director,” the CD knew he’d be perfect for the role. “I always think it’s great if you can meet the person, even if they’re not right,” she said. A failed audition could lead to the role of a lifetime down the road.

Connie Britton, who plays Nicole Mossbacher on “The White Lotus,” told us that actors will ultimately succeed if they consistently show casting directors what they bring to the table. “Know what you have to offer, and really hone that and have faith in it and take it out there. And eventually, you’ll find somebody who’s looking for what you have to offer,” she said.

Looking to get cast? Apply to casting calls on Backstage.

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