Seasoned character actress Jennifer Coolidge is currently enjoying a very well-deserved moment in the sun! Not only is the mystery/thriller series “The Watcher,” in which she stars as overly aggressive Westfield, N.J. realtor Karen Calhoun, garnering stellar numbers on Netflix for the third consecutive week since its debut, but the highly-anticipated second season of her award-winning HBO show “The White Lotus” has just premiered to much fanfare, as well. With new episodes dropping each Sunday through mid-December, the latest season sees Coolidge reprising her role as eccentric multi-millionaire/White Lotus Blossom Circle member Tanya McQuoid, as she embarks upon a weeklong European getaway with her now husband, Greg Hunt (Jon Gries).
Originally envisioned as a limited series (born out of a pandemic-centric need to shoot an entire show in one controlled location), HBO shifted gears once “The White Lotus” became “the talk of the town,” as executive vice president of programming Francesca Orsi explained to Cosmopolitan, promptly renewing it for another go-around with a different cast of characters, save for Tayna and Greg. Each more mysterious than the last, newcomers include humorless employment attorney Harper Spiller (Aubrey Plaza), womanizing show business bigwig Dominic Di Grasso (Michael Imperioli), gassy octogenarian Bert Di Grasso (F. Murray Abraham) and disgruntled personal assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), among others. And yes, as is shown in the opening scene of the first episode, one of them will be dead by the time the final credits roll!
Along with a new cast, the current season also features a completely new setting. While season one took place at the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, this time around, the cast and crew descended upon San Domenico Palace, Taormina, another Four Seasons property nestled atop a picturesque promontory overlooking the Ionian Sea and the Mount Etna volcano on Sicily’s eastern coast.