[Editor’s Note: The following story contains spoilers for “The White Lotus” Season 2 finale.]
Jennifer Coolidge was dying to dive head-first into “The White Lotus” stuntwork.
The Emmy winner reflected on the watery Season 2 finale that saw her character Tanya hit her head on the side of a dinghy railing and drown. Yet Coolidge was tempted to go full Tom Cruise and do her own stunt for the scene.
“I didn’t feel like the boat was that far off the water. I wanted it to be me. I wanted it to be me falling off the boat,” Coolidge told Vulture. “I didn’t want it to be a stunt double.”
However, showrunner Mike White advised against it. “Mike was like, ‘The water’s really cold!’ And I said, ‘I don’t care if the water’s cold! I want to fall off the boat!'” Coolidge continued. “He said, ‘Jennifer, our stunt double has been waiting here all night to do her stunt. It would be weird to say, ‘Hey you can go home now.’ She was this very cool Italian woman, and she was very funny, so yeah, it would be weird to just send her home.”
Coolidge shared, “But I was like, ‘I get why Tom Cruise wants to do his own stunts.’ You think, ‘Well, why can’t I do that? Who cares if the water is cold!’ But it was this fall between these two boats and insurance and you know. But it would’ve been fun.”
The “Legally Blonde” alum revealed that she “knew very early on” that Tanya would not survive the second season.
“Even before he was planning for Italy, Mike told me he wanted me in ‘White Lotus 2.’ And then I don’t know how many months after, he called me up one day and said, ‘Well, I guess I have to tell you this now so you can prepare.’ And I said, ‘What?’ And he goes, ‘You die, Jennifer. You’re going to die in “White Lotus 2,'” Coolidge recalled. “And I said, ‘Oh, no! You’ve got to be kidding me! Really?'”
Coolidge added, “I tried to talk him out of it, but Mike is very strong. He said I was going to have a tragic ending, and he stuck to his guns.”
And speaking of guns, Coolidge didn’t know just how much she’d go out with a bang.
“He didn’t tell me how it was going to happen,” Coolidge said of White. “He did say Greg was going to be behind a plot that was not good for Tanya and that Tanya was going to go out with a bang. He said, ‘We’re definitely killing you, Jennifer.’ And I said, ‘Aw, damn it! OK.'”
Coolidge summed up, “The thing that was interesting when I was arguing with Mike — well, not arguing, but talking about the way she loses her life — is he was saying it has to be at the fault of herself and not anyone else. A clumsy moment. I heard Mike telling someone that’s what happens with Tanya because ‘I think that’s what happens to Jennifer. She locks herself in the bathroom or something. She can get the big stuff done but not small things. Some weird little thing can just mess her up.’ There’s something, unfortunately, very unconscious about me.”
See who we think should return to “The White Lotus” in Season 3 here.