Part of the fun of a show that resets itself with every season — like HBO’s The White Lotus, a drama that takes place at a new luxury resort with a new cast of characters each time — is the speculation about where it will go next, and who will land there. On the first count at least, Variety has now put us out of our misery (or, alternatively, spoiled our fun): it reports that creator Mike White has settled on Thailand as the location for his next tragicomic roundelay of miserable rich people.
This tracks with the theme White has said he wants to explore next. “The first season kind of highlighted money, and then the second season is sex,” White said in an HBO featurette after the finale of The White Lotus’ second season. “I think the third season would be maybe a satirical and funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality. It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus.”
According to Variety’s sources, White has been spending time in Thailand, scouting potential locations. Last week, HBO head Casey Bloys said that he’d heard White’s pitch for the plot of the next run of episodes of the show already. “He’s just pitched us the idea for the third season, and it’s great, a really fun idea,” Bloys, who was speaking at a French TV festival, said.
There’s no word on casting yet, though Bloys said that White was “casting people you know” but in a way that “allows you to rediscover them or see them in a new light.” Between the first and second seasons of the show, only one character returned — Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya, whose complex, absurd, and surprising second-season arc is one of the show’s highlights. White has given no indication if any previous characters will feature in the third season.
So far, every season of The White Lotus has been shot on location at an actual Four Seasons hotel. The first season took place on the Hawaiian island of Maui, and the second on the Italian island of Sicily. The Four Seasons has four resorts in Thailand: in the city of Bangkok, amid rice rice fields at Chiang Mai, by sandy beaches on the island of Koh Samui, and the Golden Triangle, a tented adventure camp in the jungle. Koh Samui fits the White Lotus formula the best, perhaps — although, who doesn’t want to see some existentially confused one-percenters losing it on a journey to the heart of the darkness in the jungle, like some kind of five-star Apocalypse Now?
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