After scoping up five Emmy Awards, The White Lotus has big shoes to fill when it returns on Oct. 30 on HBO Max with an all new group of travelers (alongside returning Jennifer Coolidge and Jon Gries) vacationing on the coast of Sicily. Promising just as much absurdity and drama, season 2 sees locals Mia, played by Beatrice Grannó, and her friend Lucia (Simona Tabasco) stir up trouble at the hotel.
Ahead of the new season premiere, Grannò opened up about Mia, finding her “diamonds” as an actor and the shocking finale.
How has your time been in Los Angeles? On Instagram you said you actually had good pizza here.
This White Lotus season is about Italy and sometimes it's hard to portray easily without making it stereotyped, so it just made me laugh. We actually had this dinner at this place and I tried the pizza and it tasted so authentic. And I couldn't believe it. I was like, “There must be an Italian chef in the room. I'm sure. This is too good.” It was so good. I just made a joke because I'm a big foodie. I love food.
What do Americans usually get wrong about Italian food?
The thing is that Italian food, it's very simple. It doesn't need a lot because the ingredients are good. Sometimes if you have very good oil or good bread, that's all you need. Just oil on a piece of bread or maybe pasta. If you make tomato pasta, you don't need that many ingredients. You just need tomato basil, parmesan cheese and that's it. And I think that's sometimes away from Italy, people tend to put a lot in their recipes.
When I went to drama school in London and I lived there for four years and I remember that when we ordered pizza, I would just say I only want tomato and mozzarella on my pizza. And they would go, “But you can put any ingredients and it costs the same money. It doesn't cost more.” And I said, “Yeah, but I don't want it.”
I think there's something about simplicity that makes Italian food Italian. But in order to do that, you need to have the right ingredients.
What can you tell us about your character Mia?
What I love about this character is that she transforms throughout the story because she's a dreamer and she lives in the clouds and she's very romantic. She believes in true love and she wants to be a musician and she has this big dream. And then her best friend Lucia, at the beginning, is the opposite. She's more practical.
I found it really funny that her dream is to play at the White Lotus as the musician. She's like, “I want to be the piano singer at the White Lotus.” It's the big dream, and I love that about her. So she starts off very innocent, and then eventually she flips and she realizes something very important and understands that if she wants to be a musician, she has to do anything in her power to get there. What I love about Lucia and Mia is that they're like marbles
They've been thrown in this hotel to make everyone just lose their balance. I really liked this about our characters because we're there to f*** everything up.
We bring some of that Italian culture and I think that everybody in the show has a specific purpose. And I love that the relationship between me and Lucia is the only one that somehow is real and trustful and pure and nobody judges anyone. I really like that we bring a bit of sweetness to the story, a bit of hope.
You sing and Mia is an aspiring musician. Do you like roles where you can personally relate to the character?
I was trained to work on your own cards. I think every artist has a specific way of telling things. It's not really what you tell, it's how you say it. And I really worked on finding my own way to work. I think every time I play a character I always give a character some of my energy because in this way, I can make it different because it's mine.
When I did drama school in London, I was really trained to find that. I remember the head of my course was always telling me, “You need to find your diamonds.”
What was it like working with Mike White?
Mike has so much fun. Sometimes I could hear him laughing while watching us doing things, and that's amazing. I don’t think he gave us any type of style we had to follow. I think he's the style and somehow he influenced us with his work. So we were all together following his lead. And the way he did it, it's powerful because he never told us anything. Of course he was giving us direction on how he wanted things, but he always let us play with it.
Do you think audiences will be just as shocked by the finale of season two as they were by season one?
Oh, yes, I think so. I think very much; you can't even imagine.
Every character somehow is there because they want to find stability. Everybody wants to be happy and wants to feel good. That's why they go to these places. But you can never find happiness from the outside. I think there’s this optimism that every character has and they struggle with not succeeding.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Photography by: Francesco Ormand