Is ‘The White Lotus’ Based on a Book?

HBO is one of the hottest networks around, releasing a number of popular shows in recent months. One exciting new series that has everyone talking is The White Lotus, which premiered on HBO in July 2021. The show, which gives viewers an in-depth look at the lives of some privileged upper-class vacationers, is more than what it seems to be at first glance and features an incredible, star-studded cast. With many viewers discovering the series after the news that it was renewed for a second season, a number of fans are wondering about the source material for The White Lotus, and are curious about whether the show is based on a book. 

What is the series about?

'The White Lotus' cast in key art from the HBO series. Shows like 'The White Lotus' include lots of murder mysteries and social class dramas, but 'The White Lotus' stands on its own as a realistic portrayal of American society in 2021 and how attitudes and societal pressures affect peoples' behaviors.
‘The White Lotus’ cast | HBO

The White Lotus is unlike any other series on television. It tells the story of a group of travelers who are staying at a luxurious Hawaiian resort known as the White Lotus. While the hotel seems to be picture-perfect at first glance, it isn’t long before the guests not only discover a deeper layer at the idyllic spot but problems with each other, as well. With a cast that includes stars like Connie Britton, Murray Bartlett, Jennifer Coolidge, and Alexandra Daddario, The White Lotus is at times sinister, troubling, funny, and touching — and always deeply engrossing. 

Is ‘The White Lotus’ based on a book?

HBO has sourced many of its shows from books, including Game of Thrones and Big Little Lies. For a number of fans, books are among the best ways to guarantee a great story, since many intricate plot points are already in place. Still, The White Lotus is one HBO series that is not based on a book, and was reportedly created specifically for television.

One of the most interesting parts of The White Lotus is the characters themselves. Many of the characters are incredibly over-the-top, which could lead many viewers to wonder where they came from in the first place. Still, eagle-eyed viewers won’t see any “based on” mention in the credits for The White Lotus. The show is a rare instance of a work that came almost entirely from the brain of one creator. 

What was the inspiration behind ‘The White Lotus’?

According to The Cinemaholic, The White Lotus was not even based on a true story; it is entirely the brainchild of Mike White, who wrote, directed, and executive-produced the HBO show. Everything from the resort itself to the characters is purely a work of fiction, and any parallels that viewers might draw between the events in the show and real-life occurrences are completely coincidental. 

White has admitted, however, that he has drawn some inspiration for the characters from experiences that he has had in his own life — in particular, witnessing the behavior of certain entitled people in the entertainment industry. White, who is a well-known comedy writer and screenplay doctor, has worked on some fan-favorite films in the past, including School of Rock, but for many viewers, The White Lotus is his masterpiece.

“[The characters] all have their failings. But I identify with them all in different ways because … it’s coming from me!” White said to Vanity Fair, of the characters that he has created. “Am I that bad?”

Fortunately, fans who have developed a major affinity for The White Lotus will be able to escape to that alluring world yet again, when the second season is eventually released on HBO. Stay tuned to Showbiz Cheat Sheet for all the latest entertainment news!

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