- “The White Lotus” star Theo James said his nude moment in the season two premiere was toned down.
- Creator and writer of the HBO series, Mike White, originally had something even more NSFW in mind.
- “The initial version we shot was way too much,” the British actor told Entertainment Tonight.
The Emmy-winning HBO social satire “The White Lotus” began airing its second season on HBO on Sunday.
The new episodes of the resort-set comedy-drama take place in an exclusive Sicilian resort and follow the exploits of a brand new group of vacationers, including a wealthy American businessman named Cameron Sullivan, played by British actor Theo James.
James’ character has traveled to the Mediterranean island with his wife, Daphne (Meghann Fahy), his old college roommate Ethan Spiller (Will Sharpe), and Ethan’s wife, Harper (Aubrey Plaza), for a getaway. However, as it becomes increasingly clear in the premiere, there are some unspoken tensions between the four of them.
One scene that raised eyebrows for viewers at home saw Cameron get completely naked in full view of Harper when he followed her up to her suite to borrow one of Ethan’s swimming trunks to wear since his own luggage had been misplaced. Harper, who catches the moment in the reflection of the bathroom mirror, is left shocked but unsure if Cameron realized she could see him.
Speaking about the moment, James — who is no stranger to stripping off on screen, having done so for both “The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “Sanditon” — told Entertainment Tonight that series creator Mike White originally had something even more explicit in mind.
“The initial version we shot was way too much. So, we did a more subtle version. They toned it [down],” he explained but did not expand on how the scene had been changed.
James added that the version that made it into the premiere is “interesting” because “at first… we don’t know whether it’s deliberate or [if] it’s accidental. But it reveals itself.”
James’ costar Fahy added that while still graphic, the scene is not “arbitrary.” She said: “It’s always character-driven. It’s always, you know, moving the [story] forward.”
James teased that later in the season audiences will come to understand that “there’s a purpose” to what happens between Cameron and Harper in the first episode.
He also addressed the fact that he has stripped down for his past three television roles, joking: “It is in my contract that I’m not allowed to do anything without being completely naked,” adding that getting naked in front of the camera “felt natural” as he has so much experience.