Mike White is hosting a mini “Survivor” reunion on “The White Lotus.”
“We had some ‘Survivor’ contestants make cameos in that very first scene,” he revealed to Variety at the Season 2 red carpet premiere of “The White Lotus” on Thursday night.
White was a contestant on “Survivor: David vs. Goliath” in 2018, where he originally competed on team Goliath, a tribe of 10 overachievers who excel in their respective fields. Asked if his time on “Survivor” influenced any component of the Emmy-winning series, White said, “There’s definitely some ‘Survivor’ weaved into the show, that’s for sure.”
“The White Lotus” Season 2 takes place in Sicily, featuring a new ensemble of hotel staffers and guests including Aubrey Plaza, Will Sharpe, Sabrina Impacciatore, Theo James, Meghann Fahy, F. Murray Abraham, Adam DiMarco, Tom Hollander, Michael Imperioli, Haley Lu Richardson, Leo Woodall, Beatrice Grannó and Simona Tabasco. Jennifer Coolidge and Jon Gries, the only two returning cast members, reprise their roles as Tanya McQuoid and Greg, respectively.
White was inspired by the ceramic “Testa di Moro” vases he encountered on the Mediterranean island, particularly how they embody legends involving lust and adultery. “There’s so much classic mythology about sexual jealousy and the sexual politics of men and women,” White explained. “It just felt like, maybe that should be more of the theme [this season].”
“I think that Season 2 is a lot sexier and it’s a little bit more sinister right off the bat,” said Fahy about how this season differs from the first. “It’s really action-packed, actually — I think people are gonna be surprised.”
“We were able to go outside, location-wise — we pushed the envelope a little bit in terms of how deep down the rabbit hole we could go,” James said, noting that there weren’t as many COVID restrictions involved in filming the latest season.
On the carpet, Coolidge recalled her initial conversation with White about Tanya McQuoid’s return. “The first thing he said to me was, ‘Tanya’s grieving is over,’” she said. “So I didn’t have to carry any more ashes around.”
Coolidge also teased her character’s tumultuous relationship with Greg. “You have these romantic dreams and you fall in love with somebody, and then it doesn’t really work out,” she said. “I feel like maybe [Greg’s] up to something … it’s very mysterious.”
“The White Lotus” Season 2 premieres Oct. 30 on HBO.
‘The White Lotus’ Creator Mike White Reveals Fellow ‘Survivor’ Contestants Appear in Season 2