Mike White’s The White Lotus was one of the best and most talked-about series of 2021. Focusing on a group of wealthy tourists at a Hawaii resort, the limited series investigated social disparity in a paradise setting with a lot of humor. While we didn’t exactly fall in love with its narcissistic and morally dubious characters, we certainly loved to hate them and watch their hilarious and uncomfortable conflicts.
For those of us who loved the series, there’s good news. HBO announced recently that season two is officially happening and preproduction is underway. Here’s everything we know about The White Lotus Season 2 so far and why you cannot miss the new season:
The White Lotus season 2 is still in the middle of casting, which likely means that we will have to wait a bit until new episodes are released. There is no official date for the second season yet, but considering that they filmed Season one in late 2020 and released it in the summer of 2021, it is most likely that we’ll have to wait until late 2022 or early 2023.
Fans of the show might be surprised to hear that it is even getting a second season. The White Lotus was originally billed as a limited series, which means the plot in season one was concluded in its shocking finale. But, much like American Horror Story, The White Lotus will become an anthology series with a whole new plot, location, and cast every season. Each season will likely focus on the lives of different wealthy vacationers and the tourism workers whose efforts allow them to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Mike White, the creator of the show and Survivor alum, told Vulture that he plans to continue creating unlikeable characters and hateable people, which is not surprising if you have seen his other shows like Enlightened. He said, “I feel like I could create characters that fit some people’s political and cultural agenda and probably my own! That would be pandering.”
Though HBO executive Francesca Orsi confirmed that the second season will be heading to a new location, we don’t know specifically where. Since the title of the show refers to a chain of hotels, it is easy to see how the series could travel the world’s different “White Lotuses.” Mike White told TVLine that “it would have to be a different hotel, like, say, The White Lotus: San Tropez or something,” and in other interviews he has hinted at locations like France or Japan.
The first series featured an amazing ensemble cast that masterfully set the tone for the comedy series with stars like Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Jennifer Coolidge, Steve Zahn, Alexandra Daddario, and Euphoria’s Sydney Sweeney. Since the new season will focus on a new resort, it will feature a whole new cast (except for Jennifer Coolidge), so there are a lot of reasons to be excited about the new cast of the upcoming season.
According to EW, Michael Imperioli of The Sopranos fame will be playing a character named Dominic Di Grasso, who is traveling with “his elderly father and recent college-graduate son.” In January 2022, HBO confirmed that Aubrey Plaza will be joining the cast as Harper Spiller, a woman who finds herself on vacation with her husband and his friends. MovieWeb reported that other confirmed cast members include the great F. Murray Abraham (Mythic Quest), Tom Hollander (The Night Manager), Adam DiMarco (The Order), and Haley Lu Richardson (The Edge of Seventeen). F. Murray Abraham will play Imperioli’s dad and DiMarco will play his son. Hollander will play Quentin, an English expatriate vacationing with his friends and his nephew. Richardson stars as Portia, a young woman traveling with her boss.
As mentioned, there is a small chance that some of our favorite actors will make a return, including Coolidge possibly reprising her instantly iconic role as Tanya. Coolidge was especially praised for her work, and Deadline reported back in October 2021 that she is set to return, though this doesn’t seem to be officially confirmed. White has suggested as much, though, telling IndieWire, “I don’t think you can credibly have [all the season one guests] on the same vacation again. But maybe it could be a Marvel universe type thing, where some of them would come back.”
The White Lotus was simply one of the best TV series of 2021. It is an incisive and hilarious depiction of income inequality in America that does not feel didactic or moralistic. Instead of showing us the world as we’d like it to be, this show depicts the world of luxury as it is: filled with selfish people who will always end up winning in a world of profit and capitalism. It slowly but surely reveals the underlying dynamics of disparity that inform human relationships. Mike White is not afraid to show the flaws and quirks of both upper and working-class characters while retaining a light tone that turns this show into a great comedy of manners.
Overall, the show becomes a brilliant document of its times as it bravely comments on topical subjects while keeping its eye on the more fundamental issue of class conflict. Considering that Mike White has had a hand in writing some classics like School of Rock, Freaks and Geeks, and Enlightened, the new season of The White Lotus looks rather promising.
Naomi Fry of the New Yorker described the show as a “near-note-perfect tragicomedy” and as “an examination of what happens when the veneer of conventional sociability dissolves and the power struggles stoked by race, class, and gender erupt from beneath the surface of everyday life.”
While the music, direction, and editing build a rhythmic tension which is quite unlike any other comedy on television, The White Lotus would not have been such a success without the masterful performances of its ensemble cast. Jennifer Coolidge, in particular, was praised for delivering one of her best performances ever as Tanya, a lonely alcoholic who carries around her dead mother’s ashes. She blends vulnerability with selfishness in a way that makes viewers somehow both empathize with and condemn her actions, a response which White perfects throughout the show’s entirety with several characters. Similarly, Connie Briton and Sydney Sweeney excelled as Nicole and Olivia Mossbacher, perfectly portraying the complexities of mother-daughter relationships and the intergenerational differences between boomers and millennials/zoomers.
Mike White can assuredly bring out the best of whatever cast he assembles, though, and we’re confident that Plaza, Imperioli, Abraham, possibly Coolidge and others will make for another season of biting and hilarious social commentary, and we could not be more excited.
Choose or Die Ending, Explained: What Happened at the End of the Netflix Horror Movie
This article contains spoilers for the Netflix film Choose or DieSurely by now, people know not to find an old and mysterious game and take a look at how it works; it’s probably going to be cursed. Choose Or Die, the 2022 horror thriller is directed by Toby Meakins and is his feature directorial debut. It is undoubtedly one to remember, with disturbing visuals that will most likely be stuck in our minds for a long time.
The film starts with a mother and teenage son arguing, while the father hides in his room full of old video games. He begins playing an old-school survival video game called CURS>R, and he soon finds that the game affects the surrounding environment; his lights go out when the game asks him if he wants to turn them on or off. Although, things take a nasty turn when the game asks him: “His tongue or her ear? Choose or die!” This is when viewers know that reality is cursed and things are going to get gruesomely interesting. When he leaves the room, he witnesses his wife holding a knife to his son’s mouth, which his tongue is missing from.
Soon after, we meet Kayla (Lola Evans), whose only real friend is tech-obsessed nerd Isaac (Sex Education’s Asa Butterfield). Kayla and Isaac discover a copy of CURS>R, which promises a huge cash reward (from the voice of Robert Englund, aka Freddy Krueger) to whomever gets through every horrifying level and completes it.
Though it seems to have been decades since the game was released, the phone line available to gamers who are curious about the big prize remains open, and Kayla is soon lured into a frightening world where the video game does not dissapoint with its impossible requests. It forces her to choose how to make others suffer, and she has little choice but to complete CURS>R, even if it means losing the ones closest to her or even her own life. But when the disturbingly gripping movie comes to an end, what does it mean? Here’s the ending explained; do you want to read on? Choose or die.
After Issac and Kayla watch a video of a man in a lab coat explaining that he discovered a curse related to symbols that affect reality (and reveals that he invented the game using the symbols when he was a child), Kayla is told by the computer that she must “beat the boss.” It sends her coordinates for where to go, which brings her to an isolated home in the woods. Hal, the character from the very first scene, as well as his wife and son, are all inside the house.
To conceal his injuries, the son, Gabe, is wearing strange magazine cutouts of a mouth and an eye – totally creepy. Hal is startled when the game sent Kayla to his house. After being forced to play two levels of the videogame (which explains why his son also has one eye missing), he claims that the game promised to leave him alone provided he made and distributed copies. Kayla’s phone buzzes to let her know she’s reached the “boss battle” stage of the game. By this point, viewers may be invested, but also confused on what is going to happen. But it only gets more shocking.
Before making her way to Hal’s house, the man in the video explains a part of the game that we are soon to see in action. When someone (a cursor) uses the symbols against someone else (the cursed), the cursor benefits from the cursed’s suffering (although, this isn’t quite how it is explained to work earlier in the film, but we can roll with it anyway). This is demonstrated later when Hal throws a plate at Kayla’s face and, much to her surprise, she doesn’t get injured; instead, it injures Hal.
So, the damage they do to themselves is actually inflicted onto the other person, so of course they both frantically try to hurt themselves, with some help from the wife and son too. Kayla eventually ends up winning the battle when she drowns herself in the pool, although she does have the viewers holding their breath too, and for a minute we do believe she is dead. Of course, the bad guy loses and Hal chokes on water and dies, and the CURS>R game lets us know it’s “Game Over.”
As Kayla cleverly defeated Hal, she gets a notification where the game now declares her the cursor and in control of CURS>R, essentially meaning she can now curse people. She begins by targeting the drug dealer who is harassing her mother, and when we witness his shocking fate, we also see that Kayla’s injuries heal. Kayla then receives a phone call from the game designer, asking her who will suffer at the hands of the game next, and she makes a badass (and somewhat ethical) move and replies “only people who deserve it.” With that said, we are left to believe that now Kayla will become the ultimate cursor, but this time, using the video game to haunt those “who deserve it,” pointing to a subtle but subversive sociopolitical message.
The ending of Choose Or Die does leave room for a sequel, with plenty of questions that need answering, the main one being, what will be Kayla’s next move? The storyline is clever, assisted by a brilliant cast, and the terrifying visuals add that horror edge that all horror fans love to see.
Following: Why the First Christopher Nolan Movie is One You Should Watch
Christopher Nolan has now become possibly one of the most recognizable directors of our time, with incredible blockbusters like Insomnia, The Dark Night Trilogy, Inception, and Dunkirk – all of which has led to his films gaining 11 Academy Awards and 36 nominations. Nolan doesn’t take a break and is even excited about his new release that is set in WWII, about the creation of the atom bomb.
Needless to say, fans of his work are going wild about Oppenheimer and the prospect of another great Nolan movie being released. Although we must not forget that, despite his successful career and his additions to the pantheon of great cinema, it was his feature debut 1998, Following, that kick-started his path to success. While it may have only been the beginning, it is a movie that no one should miss out on.
Following is a mildly experimental neo-noir ’90s movie, which Nolan wrote, produced, edited, directed, and even filmed all himself. The story concerns a young writer in London who follows people to gain inspiration for his novels, although his hobby quickly becomes an obsession that he soon finds has gone further than intended when he fails to keep his distance. So, what makes this 1998 film so captivating and one everyone should see?
Nolan’s objective for the film, which was made on an extremely limited budget, was to explore the aspect of film noir that he enjoys the most: male characters who are defined by the usually cruel behaviors they exhibit. His proposal was risky because of the limited budget; he wanted to film no more than two takes per scene, entirely with natural light, and in affordable locations. He also wanted to work the shoot around the other jobs that his cast and crew had, as well as his own.
Using his often trademark style of non-linear narrative, Following was designed to illustrate both the limitless potential of playing with one’s sense of time and perception and the limitations of its production. The story is scattered with some flashbacks, some out-of-sequence scenes, and brief cuts that leave the audience questioning why these events happened the way they did. The flashbacks and flash-forwards play with your perspective and sense of time; answers become questions again, and yet it is undeniable that this keeps the audience on their toes and ensures that their eyes are glued to the screen. When all the pieces are put back together at the end of the movie, the viewers are able to finally appreciate the great effort that went into creating the movie as well as the aesthetic value of the film.
Neo-noir movies have become significantly more visible in modern cinema and could even be the genre of the decade, so when Nolan’s Following was shot in a noir style, it of course had to add to the growing list of brilliant noir movies. Following has many sharp contrasts and dark gloomy corners, which create an intense atmosphere as the camera lurks around and peers into secret boxes alongside its characters. Really, it fits the mood that is intended for a noir movie perfectly.
Not to mention that it follows a gritty, mind-bending string of events that (of course) Nolan withholds information on, in order to develop tension throughout the film and throw you another curveball. All of this forces you to re-evaluate your assumptions and relationship to the point of view usually taken in films, which are extremely typical characteristics of a noir. In fact, in an interview with Filmmaker Magazine, Nolan expressed his view on noir films:
Fans will realize that Following, while a great movie individually, was essentially a blueprint for Nolan’s entire career; it was, after all, only an hour and ten minutes long, significantly shorter than the massive Nolan epics we are used to. It was only the beginning of his work, as his subsequent movies retained certain noir characteristics (thus helping reinvigorate Batman and the superhero movie), and toyed with point of view and perspective.
Following was the movie that began his fascination with non-linear storytelling, which has now become a major recognizable factor in his filmography. This approach has assisted Nolan in giving a fresh look into (or even re-inventing) noir, but we can’t forget where it all started. So, Following is not just Nolan’s feature debut, but a noir masterpiece, and maybe one of the best movies of the ’90s; it’s intense, gloomy, captivating and, frankly, mysterious and mind-boggling. So it feels wrong to be so engaged in his other work, without appreciating that Following influenced and inspired his incredible directorial skills. It should be required viewing for any big Nolan fan.