HBO’s The White Lotus boasts an entirely new cast for its second, Italy-set season, with two notable exceptions. Among its very worthwhile additions is Will Sharpe, who plays Ethan, husband to Harper (Aubrey Plaza) and friend of Cameron (Theo James), whose freer lifestyle and influence quickly leads Ethan towards trouble.
Awards Radar had the chance to speak Sharpe about relating to Ethan and how he and Plaza approached their characters’ dynamics:
“My impression of them and the way that Aubrey, Mike [White], and I talked at the beginning of the process is probably that Harper and Ethan are both very busy in their work, so they kind of arrive on this vacation in a hurry in a way. I don’t think Ethan has fully thought through his relationship with Cameron. He never thought they were soulmates, just that they were people who shared a room together and stayed in touch. And so Harper is the first one to question their own relationship, and as you say, her way of dealing with that is almost to overcompensate and be like, well, we’re weird. At least we’re not like them. We’re very honest with each other about everything. We’re good together. But very quickly we start to sense how actually they’re not honest with each other or even with themselves about the biggest things.”
On whether he thinks Ethan and Harper get a happy ending:
“They manage to connect, and there is a catharsis about the way Ethan and Harper finish. I know Mike wanted it to feel like they were happy in that moment at the airport. But, I do feel like there are mysteries that hang over the ending of that quartet. I don’t know if it ever necessarily felt like a happy ever after thing. Aubrey and I would talk about their history and try to build a sense of where they came from, and, together with Mike, we decided that they must have been together for at least seven or eight years if not more. We wanted to carry a sense that there is love between them, and that’s what they’re fighting for, and that’s what they’re struggling to recapture.”
Watch to the full conversation below:
The White Lotus is streaming on HBO Max.