For actor Jennifer Coolidge the huge success of two seasons of “The White Lotus” represents both a huge career revival and a hard act to follow. “I have to move on,” Coolidge told fans in Sydney, Australia, this weekend. “Offers have come in and I would love to do a film next, but ‘The White Lotus’ holds this very high bar, so it will be hard to choose.”
Coolidge and the show’s creator, writer and director Mike White were in Australia’s biggest city for Vivid Talks, part of 23-day Vivid Sydney, the largest festival in Australia. Their 90 minute “Conversation” was attended by a sold-out crowd of 9,000 at Sydney’s Aware Super Theatre stadium.
White, whose only previous visit to Sydney was as a contestant with his father Mel White on “The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business” in 2011, was stunned by the scale of their audience. “Backstage I was thinking ‘what is going on? How is it possible that all these people are here to see us,” he said.
White flew in from Thailand where he was developing a third season of “The White Lotus,” but which is now stalled due to the screenwriters’ strike. “Not to turn this industry-wide, tragic situation into a personal plus for me but it’s kind of nice to be ‘pencils down’. I hope, obviously, the strike gets resolved quickly and that everyone’s happy,” he said. “It’s all new to me. I haven’t ever gone past two seasons on a show, but going to places and choosing a new cast is inspirational.”
White did not exclude the possibility of a prequel featuring a story line with Coolidge’s character Tanya McQuoid, who was killed off in Season 2, or using Australia as a future location. “I would like to get to every continent for this show,” he said.
When Coolidge confessed to being “in a very weird position.” “Since my on-screen death I was getting calls from actress friends who were wondering if a third season happened could I get them in on it,” she said. “But, I would like to see some of the characters return who we haven’t seen quite finish their story.”
Coolidge was greeted in Sydney by fans dressed as McQuoid and she opened up to them about her sudden career revival.
“I want everyone to know all my depressing stories. Because I think it will help people,” she said. “I know there’s a bunch of positive people in the audience that don’t need any. But I do feel like I am a good story. I had a very hard time functioning for many years, because I just didn’t think I had a shot in hell.”
Vivid Sydney features breathtaking lights and projections on the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House, as well as over 300 events and activations dotted along a 5 mile (8.5km) circuit, and the largest drone show in the southern hemisphere. Running till June 17, it boasts visitor numbers 4% higher than last year, which finished with 2.58 million visitors.