In its seductive second season, Mike White’s Emmy-winning The White Lotus welcomes a recent crop of rich Americans into the gilded halls of its beachfront Sicilian outpost, where the ornate paintings are frescoed and the ice-cold Aperol Spritzes are bottomless. It’s a glamorous life designed for tourists fairly than the local Italians just outside its partitions. And yet, within the season’s second episode, Lucia Greco, a sex employee using the resort as her personal client-scouting pond, finds herself in possession of keys to certainly one of the hotel’s lavish rooms—with access to the seemingly limitless tab connected to it.
That the wily Lucia was in a position to charm her way into this case should come as no surprise, though. In any case, the character is played by Simona Tabasco, who undergirds Lucia’s devious resourcefulness with an attractive sense of mystery. The White Lotus is the Italian actress’s first Hollywood production, and she or he relished the chance to embody a personality this hungry and energetic. Though Tabasco was initially trepidatious about portraying a sex employee, given the taboos and shame around sex in Italy, she was ultimately swept away by your entire experience.
Throughout the season, Lucia plays her cards near her chest; she speaks passionately of her dreams to sooner or later open her own boutique, yet refuses to elucidate why a threatening man is stalking her. Perhaps it’s price it to impress Albie (Adam DiMarco), the sweet-natured, Stanford graduate who gets all her attention within the back-half of the season. In line with Tabasco, Lucia really loves Albie—even when he’s the son of her former client Dominic (Michael Imperioli), the philandering husband who gave her access to the hotel. But after Lucia agreed to go away along with her stalker in last week’s episode, who’s to say what’s going to turn out to be of her and Ablie’s love story on this Sunday’s finale.
Earlier this week, Tabasco, along along with her translator Chiara Nanni, hopped on Zoom to consult with ELLE.com about making her Hollywood debut, how she channelled her nervousness about all those sex scenes into her performance, and what Lucia’s wardrobe hints about her character’s evolving mental state.
While you first read the scripts for season two of The White Lotus, what did you resonate with essentially the most in regards to the character of Lucia?
There are plenty of things. I feel the part that’s most evident about her that resonates with me is her hunger. She’s a person who’s so hungry for the world, for the things she sees around. She has her goals and her objectives, so she chooses what she does, and chooses The White Lotus to do it at, because she thinks that perhaps that will be a path that will take her to her end-goal. Perhaps, with wealthy people in a wealthy place, that will be the trail for her to achieve her dreams. She’s very on the market because she wants what she sees and she or he’s hungry for the world and for all times—and that’s why I feel so near to her on this. I’m hungry! [laughs]
Simona Tabasco as Lucia in The White Lotus season 2.
Your character is a sex employee. Did you’re feeling a way of responsibility to portray her career in a selected light?
Mike White wrote the character in a certain way, so I didn’t must dive into that in the beginning. There was a portrayal of her that Mike had very clear in his head when he wrote her, so I felt very protected on set and really protected in developing the character on screen through what he had already written. In fact, there are very different sorts of sex staff and Lucia will not be that type of sex employee [who’s been exploited or forced into this line of work] — she chooses for herself to do what she’s doing. [The story] doesn’t go into the entire problematic side of it, so I’m glad to persist with what Mike had in his head about what Lucia was going to be like.
One interesting thing about that is that I knew she was a sex employee within the story before I read the script. So, being Italian and being immersed in our culture, where there’s a way of guilt and a bit little bit of shame, just as a people for a way we approach this kind of topic, I did possibly have a bit little bit of worry at the back of my head about how I used to be going to approach the character and play her. But then, I did read the script, I did consult with Mike, and [I realized that] the character is so fun and so interesting to play. Her story is her story and there wasn’t any connotation of that kind, so it was great.
By episode six of this season, Lucia has been spending plenty of time with Albie—and she or he’s doing so without spending a dime! But I can never really read her. Should we consider that she really likes Albie or is that this some minor a part of a grander scheme?
Yeah, sure. She likes Albie!
Well, she often hangs out on the White Lotus to work. What’s it about Albie that has inspired her to get off that track of getting cash, not less than in the interim?
Well, that may be a little bit of a trick query! [laughs] What I’ll say is that, after she has that night with Cameron within the third episode, she type of wakes up in a unique mode—so possibly something [new] is clicking in her head about find out how to go at her objectives and her goals, and Albie matches into that different mindset that she wakes as much as. But I can’t go into more. Also, I feel Lucia really, truly likes Albie. I feel she’s in love with Albie.
Which may explain why she agrees to be a translator on Albie’s Di Grasso family trip, despite the incontrovertible fact that she’ll must even be around Dominic, who she will be able to’t actually admit she knows. Do you’re thinking that Lucia likes causing tension between these men or is it pure coincidence? Does she even notice how her presence complicates their dynamic?
I feel Lucia could be very naive, so it’s a coincidence.
Lucia has plenty of sex throughout the show. How did you want filming those intimate scenes?
Well, I had never been in or interpreted sex scenes of this sort before, so I used to be a bit preoccupied to start with. But on set, we had an intimacy coordinator, which is knowledgeable figure that we don’t have in Italy. I used to be extremely and pleasantly surprised by this, because ultimately, every sex scene was like choreography. There have been camera movements that we needed to follow. There have been people on set that made us feel protected and assisted. It wasn’t just me and Adam [DiMarco] or me and Michael [Imperioli]. It was a team. I had so many things to take into consideration that, ultimately, I distracted myself and it turned out to be only a fun moment.
The interesting thing is that, while we were shooting, I put my personal embarrassment [from] the situation aside to deliver the scene. But at the identical time, in my backstory of Lucia, I don’t think that she was a sex employee before the White Lotus. So [there was] this little parallel of getting a little bit of embarrassment or a little bit of insecurity before, that you simply put aside to do a job. That’s what we each did, and I feel that parallel plays nicely on screen.
Numerous your performance hinges on the chemistry you may have along with your on-screen best friend Mia, who’s played by fellow Italian actress Beatrice Grannò. Is it true that you simply two have actually known one another for years since you went to film school together?
Yes, yes! It’s very funny. Beatrice helped me to do the primary audition for The White Lotus. I didn’t know she was [up] for Mia, so it was funny because we were like, “Oh, also you?” “Yes! Are you able to imagine it?” Then, we began to dream about doing The White Lotus together and it happened.
Tabasco and Grannò on the White Lotus season 2 premiere.
Jeff Kravitz//Getty Images
Do you’re thinking that the incontrovertible fact that you two already shared a friendship in real life made you a more appealing pair to casting directors?
I don’t know if the casting director [knew]… Well, I’m sure they knew, but I don’t know in the event that they noticed or in the event that they took that under consideration. But as Beatrice all the time says, it could’ve been so crazy only for certainly one of us to get this. But then, each of us got it and we were in a position to put our friendship on screen. It was totally amazing. So I don’t know in the event that they were aware, but it surely worked well.
Lucia wears a few of my favorite outfits on the show. Knowing that her big lifelong dream is to open her own store, how vital was the styling aspect of your characterization?
So, similar to Mike was so open in developing the characters throughout our shooting time on set—because he was very open to improvising and discussing what we thought—the identical process went on with Alex Bovaird, the costume designer. She had plenty of outfits planned and she or he had her ideas, but she was very open in discussing with us what we thought and what we liked best out of what she picked out for us. It was a process in that sense as well, which I totally enjoyed since it dropped at the screen what you at the moment are seeing. And if I needed to say a favourite of the outfits—because they were all great and it was such a fun time to undergo them—I’d say that the sunshine skin-tone one which shines a bit bit, the evening dress, is certainly one of my favorites.
Also, following what I said before about Lucia’s arc throughout the season and the way her story develops, I feel Alex put that into there as well. We see her opening with this gorgeous, super sexy red dress that’s a wow in anyone’s face. But then, throughout, we see her possibly closing up a button or two, going a bit more chaste. I feel she follows that minor sense of guilt and shame—that moment that she has [in episode four]—throughout the story, after which develops [her style] and goes on. But I feel it’s a parallel that was wanted and you could see.
Lucia wears a striking red dress in season 2, episode 1.
Lucia wears a blue long sleeve top with Albie (Adam DiMarco) in season 2, episode 6.
During the last eight years, you’ve acted in a wide range of Italian productions. What’s the largest difference between those and a Hollywood production like The White Lotus?
All of the productions I’ve been involved in in Italy have been different due to their sizes, I’d say. So that is only a production that’s greater. The White Lotus has won Emmys. It’s a situation that I discovered myself in that I can’t compare to the previous one, just due to magnitude of it. But at the identical time, it was so incredibly fun since it gave me plenty of freedom to specific myself and use my acting skills in a selected way. I had the [opportunity] every day to simply have a give-and-take with my other colleagues and forged members. That was a every day process that I completely enjoyed and was wonderful to be a component of.
In Italy, I’ve [portrayed] a physician, an undercover police officer, the daughter of a lawyer. So with The White Lotus, I used to be in a position to transcend that, just with the potential of having a lot energy that I could placed on screen. It’s a personality that allowed me that compared to my previous performances. In order that was great. That was wonderful to do.
Since that is your first big American production, I’d imagine that you simply’re gaining an entire recent set of fans world wide—especially since Lucia is many individuals’s favorite character. Because the show premiered, have you ever felt the highlight shift on you?
That is a very good query since it has an interesting answer. People in Italy are watching The White Lotus, but I don’t think they’re watching as much because it’s being watched within the States and in the remaining of the world. So, yes, I’m receiving a lot love and so many messages. Individuals are reaching out to me through Instagram and on social media, and I’d love to offer back and reply to everybody and be energetic with everyone. But because of this every thing is occurring distant. This will not be something I’m immersed in my every day life. It comes from a faraway land, let’s say. But I’m obviously incredibly glad that it’s happening. We had a lot fun on set, and it’s great to feel that you’ve got created and delivered a product that’s entertaining people, that folks are having a very good time watching, that’s something that everyone seems to be having fun with.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Michael Cuby is the Editor-at-Large for them. His work has appeared in GQ, Vogue, L’Officiel, and VICE. He’s a movie and tv fanatic who has thankfully been given the chance to show that addiction right into a job. When he is not being productive, you may often find him sitting in front of certainly one of many screens.