SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains spoilers for Season 2 of “The White Lotus,” now streaming on HBO Max.
The majority of the characters on Season 2 of “The White Lotus” have issues — and Daphne is no exception. However, the wealthy, confident mother, portrayed by Meghann Fahy, wills herself to focus on the positive and not let her husband’s blatant infidelity get her down. In fact, she may be cheating herself — seemingly as a coping mechanism — and she owns that.
During Sunday’s season finale, her husband’s frenemy college roomate and their traveling companion Ethan (Will Sharpe) confronts her with quite a disturbing claim: He thinks his wife, Harper (Aubrey Plaza), had sex with Cameron (Theo James). In arguably one of the best scenes of the entire series, Daphne becomes upset for a split second, shown only by a split second look of disappointment in her eyes and a shift of her mouth, before telling Ethan that sometimes, it’s OK not to know everything your spouse does. She then invites him to a nearby island.
It’s never revealed what they did during that interlude — although we asked Sharpe his thoughts — but it ultimately leads to Harper and Ethan finally having sex again, and both couples leaving Sicily seemingly happy.
Here, Fahy breaks down her thoughts on the finale, Daphne and Ethan’s excursion and more.
Why do you think that Daphne is so likable, despite possibly being the most manipulative character on the show?
I think that her manipulation isn’t an evil one. I think she’s empathetic in a way that’s kind of surprising. When you first meet Daphne, you really think that she’s just this passive housewife with not really much going on and then, I think so for someone to be as sunshine-y as Daphne is — and then also be somebody who’s basically telling this girl that she doesn’t even know that well that her son might belong to her trainer and not her husband — it’s the dynamic that is created within that space that I think makes her a really interesting character.
Let’s talk about that moment. Do you think Daphne knew she was showing Harper a photo of her kids and not the trainer?
I do, absolutely. I don’t think there was any accident. That whole speech and that photo and all of that, I think was very deliberate.
Cameron made a face in the mirror when Daphne is calling for him to come talk to the kids. Do you think Cameron knows they may not be his kids?
I doubt it, but I love that look. Obviously when we filmed it, I couldn’t see what he was doing. So when I watched it the other day, I thought that was really spooky and cool that he kind of paints a smile on his face before he comes out.
We asked Will about what he thinks happened between Daphne and Ethan. What do you think?
What did Will say?
I don’t want to tell you! It’s obviously up for interpretation but what are your thoughts?
I definitely think something happened. I don’t know what exactly happened, but I do know that it was something. Honestly, in that moment, I think Daphne just saw this broken man and wanted to do something to make him feel more empowered in her own strange way. I really don’t think that she led him there to get back at Cameron or Harper. Someone said something really interesting the other day, which was like, do you think that part of Daphne’s sadness comes from her betrayal from Harper? I was like, totally. I think she’s been through this with Cameron who knows how many times, but I think she really thought that Harper was maybe her friend, or wanted her to be. She has that vulnerable moment in Episode 3 where they’re in Noto, and she talks about how she has a hard time keeping female friends and stuff. So, I do think that was part of the experience of it but yeah, I don’t know that I can say exactly what happened, but I think definitely some something sexual for sure.
Do you think that, in a way, cheating made both of their marriages stronger? It’s so weird to think, but did Daphne and Cameron save Harper and Ethan’s marriage?
I think that it’s a really interesting parallel to draw. I think that at the end of it, what you basically have is Ethan, who’s like, “What did you do?” Before that, you’ve got Harper who’s like, “What did you do?” Then they fight about it, and it is sort of the thing that brings them back to each other and reconnects them in this way that they’ve been craving to reconnect. So I think it is kind of interesting that, at the end, that sort of ghost of the dynamic that exists for Cameron and Daphne is the thing that brings Harper even back together.
As for who “won” the season, many think it’s Mia (Beatrice Grannò), but some say it’s Daphne. What do you think?
Interesting! I totally get why they would say Mia, because she’s the one who came in and was like, “What I want is to play the piano,” and she’s the one that left being like, “I am now playing the piano.” It felt so good that she achieved her thing. But also, so did Lucia [Simona Tabasco]. She got her money!
She made such a great speech in the finale to Ethan. What did you think of what she said about not needing to fully know someone?
I remember reading that, and thinking how special it was — because it’s really true. You can spend every single second with someone and still not know everything about them. And maybe that’s not the point. Somebody was telling me the other day that Esther Perel was like, “the key to like passion is mystery” or something like that. You have to have a little bit of that in order to maintain interest in somebody over a number of years. It’s an interesting thing to sort of dissect.
How was it filming that?
Even though I did a lot of scenes with Will, I only had the opportunity to really do that one scene and really, it’s just me talking to his face, but he impressed me so much when we shot that scene. He was such an active listener, and I felt like he was so present. And I just, I thought, “Wow, this is how I feel sitting across from you when you’re not even talking? I wonder what it would be like for us to really exchange words.” He’s just so fantastic.
The facial expressions you make in that scene are incredible; you show more emotion on your face in 10 seconds than so many people do in a monologue.
Well, Mike White is one of the best directors you can imagine working with. I think he really just told me to take my time. And like I said, Will was so lovely that I just felt very connected to him. Mike was really specific with his notes and stuff. It wasn’t a scene that I really planned very much in advance of, because I had worked enough with Mike at that point to know that I’d probably be better off showing up without having done much of that, without having any idea in my head of what I wanted it to be. I just wanted to find it together.
How many takes did it take?
I don’t remember. I never, ever felt rushed with Mike, but I never felt like we were shooting the shit out of everything. Sometimes you’re on a set and the director wants to do 15 takes of one thing and you’re like, this is driving me mad. But he never did that. It was always just like a few takes and then a different size on the lens and then we’d be moving on. The pace on set was always very good.
How was it filming in Sicily? How did you all bond?
We had a lot of group dinners at the beginning because the hotel was not running at full capacity. So you could eat in the hotel if you wanted, but it was like a limited menu. We were so excited to be there that we wanted to go explore and there wasn’t a lot that was open. There were only a few places so group dinners were our first foray into cast bonding, and then things just kind of evolved from there. We would go out dancing and we would go to the beach for the day. The dinners were, I think, the original connective tissue.
Who is the life of the party?
Theo, for sure. Also me! And then when Leo [Woodall] got there, he was too. So, Theo and Leo!
We got to see Beatrice singing a bunch. Obviously, it’s no secret that you can sing. Was there any discussion about having a karaoke night or something for Daphne to show off her singing voice?
No, I don’t think any of the people on the show knew that I sang! Can you imagine? What would Daphne’s karaoke song even be? Somebody asked me that once, and I thought “Ego” by Beyonce. That’s a good one, right!
Last question. Who’s more likely to have a happy ending — Daphne or Sutton, your character from “The Bold Type”?
Probably Daphne! She’s just so intent on having one. She’s made a choice, and Daphne follows through on choices that she makes. So I I trust that she’s going to find her way. Sutton is a little too emotional!
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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