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The White Lotus reveals its next location and cast, including a ‘famous’ star we didn’t expect

Director Mike White loved featuring rich palm leaf tapestries and pineapples in Hawaii and constantly featured the Testa di Moro 'Head of the Moor' in Sicily. What will he find in Thailand?

Director Mike White loved featuring rich palm leaf tapestries and pineapples in Hawaii and constantly featured the Testa di Moro 'Head of the Moor' in Sicily. What will he find in Thailand? Photo: Getty

After the second season of dark comedy-drama The White Lotus aired more than a year ago, the brainiac behind the Emmy-award-winning series has been on the lookout for the next location and cast.

Rumours abounded, and now, fans, the wait is over.

Writer and director Mike White (School of Rock, Pitch Perfect 3) had hinted that season three could take place in Asia and focus on “death and Eastern religion and spirituality”.

“The first season kind of highlighted money, and then the second season is sex,” White said in a clip tagged onto the second season finale.

“I think the third season would be maybe a satirical and funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality. It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus,” the filmmaker said.

No, it’s not the richness of the Maldives or Japan … it’s Thailand, of course.

On January 9, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) confirmed the south-east Asian country will feature as the “filming location for the highly anticipated upcoming season of The White Lotus“.

“The kingdom’s exotic natural beauty, rich historical sites and diverse landscapes are the perfect settings to share our fascinating culture, fantastic cuisine, top-notch wellness and luxury offerings,” TAT governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said.

“Most importantly, our people and Thai hospitality.

“Thailand has long been considered one of the world’s favourited filming locations.”

As for the cast of 13?

Also locked and loaded – and full of surprises – including the great-nephew of US President John F. Kennedy and US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Patrick Schwarzenegger.

Posting a screen shot of some of the hotel guests he’ll be sharing poolside drinks, cabanas, swims and hotel rooms with, he wrote: “Can’t wait”.

‘The next group of guests check in’

With the first two series filmed at Four Seasons resorts in Hawaii and Italy, most likely the next season will take place at one of the luxury hotel giant’s properties in Bangkok, Ko Samui and possibly up in the Golden Triangle at Chiang Mai.

HBO boss Janet Graham Borba confirmed the TAT partnership and said the studio was “pleased … to execute Mike’s creative vision and showcase all that the beautiful country of Thailand has to offer, as the next group of guests check in to the White Lotus”.

As soon as the SAG-AFTRA strike ended on November 9, the series started casting callouts and releasing details of new characters.

“Once again, The White Lotus will feature a sprawling, multi-generational cast … 13 roles are currently casting, nine of them series regulars – ranging in ages between 18 and 80s – with a patriarch, a corporate executive, an actress, a couple of mothers, a misfit and a yogi among the bunch, I hear,” Deadline reported.

Earlier in January, HBO announced Harry Potter actor Jason Isaacs, Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible – Fallout), Parker Posey (The Staircase), Leslie Bibb (Jupiter’s Legacy) and Carrie Coon (The Gilded Age) were cast.

This week, the final additions for this third instalment include The Righteous Gemstones actor Walton Goggins, Sarah Catherine Hook, Sam Nivola, Schwarzenegger and Sex Education breakout star Aimee Lou Wood, according to Variety.

Two Thai actors, Dom Hetrakul and Tayme Thapthimthong, are also signed up.

Natasha Rothwell, who was the beloved spa manager Belinda Lindsey who teamed up with Jennifer Coolidge’s character Tanya McQuoid, is also returning.

President Kennedy’s 30-year-old great-nephew, Patrick, is the son of The Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver.

He dated US pop singer Miley Cyrus a few years ago and his brother-in-law is none other than Guardian of the Galaxy alum and Star-Lord Chris Pratt.

He graduated from USC with a business degree and is known for being GoldenBoy in GenV last year, as well as starring opposite Colin Firth in HBO’s highly acclaimed The Staircase in 2022.

Spoiler alert, and to recap, while Coolidge’s character met a watery end at the end of season two, there has been much speculation she will return in some way in Thailand.

Picking up an Emmy on January 15 for best supporting actress in the Sicily-based thriller [she also won an Emmy for the show’s 2021 debut season], Coolidge hinted her time on screen was not over.

She singled out White in the audience for a special mention.

“He says I’m definitely dead, so I’m going along with it,” noting she bears no ill will to the “evil gays” who tried to murder her.

Overall, Lotus has been a smash hit for HBO, receiving 20 Emmy nominations and 10 wins, including best limited or anthology series for the first series.

The second series, which premiered in December 2022 and was set mostly in and around Taormina, Noto and Palermo, earned 23 Emmy nominations, including best drama series, ultimately winning five awards.

“It’s going to be a supersized White Lotus,” White said of the third season.

“It’s going to be longer, bigger, crazier. I don’t know what people will think, but I am super excited, so at least for my own barometer, that’s a good thing.”

Filming is expected to start in Thailand at the beginning of February but the super-sized series won’t debut until 2025.

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