Jennifer Coolidge's Response To Tanya's White Lotus Death Is Iconic
"He said, 'We’re definitely killing you, Jennifer.'"
Warning: Spoilers for The White Lotus Season 2 follow. Jennifer Coolidge was just as sad to say ta-ta to Tanya as the rest of the White Lotus fandom. Upon learning her beloved character would be wheeled out of Season 2 in a casket in Season 2, Coolidge’s response was to try to keep Tanya alive. Unfortunately, The White Lotus’s creator, Mike White, stuck to his plan.
Coolidge shared her initial reaction to finding out Tanya would hit her head and drown in the Season 2 finale of The White Lotus in a Dec. 12 interview with Vulture. She revealed White asked her back for the second season right after they finished up Season 1, and as he was planning the Sicilian outing, he let Coolidge know her character’s fate. “He called me up one day and said, ‘Well, I guess I have to tell you this now so you can prepare.’ And I said, ‘What?’ And he goes, ‘You die, Jennifer. You’re gonna die in White Lotus 2,’” Coolidge recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, no! You’ve gotta be kidding me! Really?’ I tried to talk him out of it, but Mike is very strong. He said I was going to have a tragic ending, and he stuck to his guns.”
It wasn’t until later that Coolidge learned the details of the death, but White did tell her some key deets. “He didn’t tell me how it was going to happen. He did say Greg was going to be behind a plot that was not good for Tanya and that Tanya was going to go out with a bang,” Coolidge said. “He said, ‘We’re definitely killing you, Jennifer.’ And I said, ‘Aw, damn it! OK.’”
In the end, Tanya’s death was more a comedy of errors than an actual murder. After taking out a yacht full of men who were trying to kill her, all Tanya had left to do was jump onto a smaller dinghy and sail off to safety. One problem: She wasn’t wearing the right shoes. She wound up slipping off the yacht, banging her head on the smaller boat, and drowning to death.
Coolidge actually wanted to perform the falling stunt herself. “I wanted it to be me falling off the boat. I didn’t want it to be a stunt double,” Coolidge said. “Mike was like, ‘The water’s really cold!’ And I said, ‘I don’t care if the water’s cold! I want to fall off the boat!’”
But White talked her out of it. “He said, ‘Jennifer, our stunt double has been waiting here all night to do her stunt. It would be weird to say, ‘Hey you can go home now.’ She was this very cool Italian woman, and she was very funny, so yeah, it would be weird to just send her home. But I was like, ‘I get why Tom Cruise wants to do his own stunts.’ You think, ‘Well, why can’t I do that? Who cares if the water is cold!’”
Tanya may have taken her last trip, but The White Lotus will be continuing on without her. A third season is expected to debut in late 2023.