A Q&A with Oakville’s Adam DiMarco on joining season two of The White Lotus

A Q&A with Oakville’s Adam DiMarco on joining season two of The White Lotus

“It still feels surreal, especially since I was such a fan of the show”

Adam DiMarco as Albie Di Grasso in The White Lotus. Fabio Lovino/HBO Max

Soon after it premiered in the summer of 2021, writer-director Mike White’s HBO satire series The White Lotus became a critical success. Viewers loved the series for its five-star buffet of performances, portraying the worst behaviour of privileged vacationers at a luxury resort in Hawaii. This year, the show won ten Emmy Awards, including outstanding limited or anthology series.

Now, The White Lotus is back on Crave for a second season with an almost entirely new cast—the exceptions being Jon Gries and fan-favourite Jennifer Coolidge. This time, the show is set at the White Lotus Sicily Resort. The new characters include three generations of Di Grasso men: Bert (F. Murray Abraham), his son Dominic (Michael Imperioli) and his grandson Albie (Adam DiMarco), a sensitive Stanford grad.

We caught up with Adam DiMarco, who was born and raised in Oakville, to chat about his debut on the popular series.

Are you getting used to being a part of The White Lotus yet?
It still feels surreal, especially since I was such a fan of the show. Watching myself in it feels a bit weird.

How did you land the role?
I live in Vancouver, but I was home visiting my family in Oakville at the time. I sent an audition tape I made at home and then had a callback on Zoom. I did the Zoom call with Mike White and then others with the producers and casting people. We read the scenes. I made some awkward jokes. I mentioned I was half Italian, and that was it. Luckily, it was pretty straightforward and painless.

What was your impression of your character, Albie, when you first read the script?
I was excited to play someone who has such a satisfying arc. Sometimes, as an actor, you might just do one episode of something or you might do a whole season. It’s nice to play someone who has a lot of layers to them. All of Mike’s characters feel like real people. They have flaws, and one minute they’re likable and the next minute they’re unlikable.

Part of what made the first season so compelling is Mike White’s gift for observing human behaviour. How does he add to the conversation on class and society this time around?
The first season went pretty in depth into privilege and class, and our season has all of that too. But I think Mike had a bit more fun this time delving further into sexual politics and the sexual aspects of the characters. I remember him describing it as a bedroom fire. People are coming in and out of bedrooms, playing little games. There’s just so much to be extracted from the theme of sex—infidelity, sex addiction, sex as a power play. And Sicily is a very romantic place.

The three Di Grasso men have very different views on love, life and sex. Can you talk about that?
Albie’s grandfather Bert has very opposing views to Albie, who has more modern viewpoints. Bert is very old-fashioned. And then Albie’s father, Dominic, is torn somewhere in the middle, oscillating back and forth between the two perspectives. That was really fun to explore. Michael Imperioli, F. Murray Abraham and I had our own rehearsals. We would talk about our own sexcapades and our relationships with our fathers. It was really cool getting to know them on a deeper level.

Michael Imperioli as Dominic Di Grasso, Adam DiMarco as his son Albie, and F. Murray Abraham as the grandfather, Bert. Fabio Lovino/HBO Max

The three of you have a wonderful dynamic.
It’s weird, we also look related. And I feel that kind of family connection to them, especially since it was a months-long shoot. Michael was always there for me; he was kind of a rock for me. And I texted Murray for his birthday recently and he was like, “Thanks, friend and grandson.”

What was it like filming on location in Sicily?
It was really fun being the only guests in this five-star hotel until the real guests started to show up. We had it booked before the tourist season. And then it was pretty weird when real guests started to arrive. We would be having breakfast and kind of staring at them, trying to figure out who is most like our characters in the show, like, “I’m probably playing that guy right there.” I’m sure you could put a documentary camera in any one of these kinds of five-star hotels and get something very similar to what you see on the show. I wondered if Mike ever drew inspiration from just people-watching at these places.

How did the cast bond on your downtime?
Going to dinners with lots of wine. I didn’t really drink before I went there. But, at a certain point, I was just like, I can’t say no to this amazing bottle of Sicilian red wine with Jennifer Coolidge. We also organized day trips to the beach.

What was it like to work with returning fan-favourite Jennifer Coolidge?
She’s such an icon, and everything she says is just gold. It was really cool getting to meet her. She’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met or worked with. She’ll just do a face and you’re on the floor. I had one scene with her where I just couldn’t keep it together, which is rare for me.

What do you think made the first season of The White Lotus so successful? And how can the second season reproduce it?
There’s something about this series that just sets it apart from the rest. I think it’s the strength of Mike’s writing. It’ll be fun for audiences to feel like they’re on vacation with these crazy rich people in Sicily. It’s also fun to just have a glass of wine and watch them suffer.