“The White Lotus” Movie Was Inspired By Jennifer Coolidge, Says Mike White

“The White Lotus” Movie Was Inspired By Jennifer Coolidge, Says Mike White

Being strange can be quite unique, don’t you think so?

Jennifer Coolidge has a Mike White vacation story that rivals the absurdity of “The White Lotus,” and she explains how it inspired a portion of the story arc of her hapless character Tanya. The actress recalled how the writer-director “had a big trip planned with a lover, but the lover couldn’t make it, so I got it!”

Jennifer Coolidge is one of the most prominent personalities from “The White Lotus.” The actress and comedian is ideally suited for the role, which is no coincidence that Coolidge’s role was created mainly for her by showrunner Mike White.

Coolidge portrays Tanya McQuoid, an eccentric heiress who traverses the globe and stays at White Lotus Resorts. She is so far the only character to appear in both seasons of the popular HBO comedy. 

The actor and White met well before the release of “The White Lotus.” “Gentlemen Broncos” is a 2009 comedy about an aspiring writer who must defend his stories against another writer who claims he wrote them, and they portrayed a couple in the film.

During a recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Coolidge stated, “I knew him from that; we had been companions for decades.” When White’s lover could not go on a romantic vacation to Africa, he contacted Coolidge, and she seized the opportunity to travel.

“It was very intimate,” she chuckled. “The tents are beautiful, but you’re right next to each other, so he saw an unfiltered version of me.” She stated that White was “amused by how strange I was on the trip,” ultimately leading to her landing the role.

Coolidge, who first collaborated with White on the 2009 film “Gentleman Broncos,” shared a passion for animals with the director, making the prospect of going on safari with him in Africa an excellent thing.

Coolidge described a particular night when “Mike discovered, on this trip, that I was sort of sad I wasn’t in a relationship, and he saw me watching these wedding videos on my iPhone in the middle of the night,” a behavior befitting her half-kooky, half-heartbreakingly vulnerable “White Lotus” character.

As the audience in the DGA Theater laughed, the actress stated, “I swear to God, I think that’s where [Mike] got the idea for Greg,” the terminally ill Coloradan portrayed by Jon Gries with whom Tanya forms a romantic relationship in the second half of the season. “I believe Mike just wanted me to have a relationship with anyone, so he wrote this part,” Coolidge hypothesized.

In response to the moderator’s remark that the two characters shared more than just physical attraction, she stated, “I never considered that he actually liked me. However, I do appreciate the opportunity to make out with someone.”

She did not anticipate the extent to which the vacation catered to couples. “We stayed in tents on the Serengeti in Tanzania, but I didn’t realize that the most intimate excursion is in a tent with a close friend. So you’re sleeping right next to the person who was supposed to be someone else,” the actress explained. 

“I swear to God, I think that’s where [Mike] got this whole idea of Greg,” she continued, referring to the character Tanya hooks up with in season 1 and marries in season 2. “I believe Mike merely wished for me to have a relationship with anyone by writing this section.”

Coolidge has been a fan favorite for a long time due to his memorable roles in popular films like “Legally Blonde,” “American Pie,” “A Cinderella Story,” and “Best in Show.” Recent appearances include the Netflix series “The Watcher” and Uber Eats and Old Navy advertisements.

Nevertheless, her role in “The White Lotus” has propelled her to a new level of fame, and Coolidge was awarded an Emmy for her portrayal of Tanya. Coolidge will co-star with Jennifer Lopez, Josh Duhamel, and Lenny Kravitz in the upcoming release of “Shotgun Wedding.”

She will also appear in the upcoming Netflix film “We Have a Ghost” alongside David Harbour of “Stranger Things” and Marvel icon.