Jake Lacy Doesn’t Want to Play Nice Guys Anymore

Prior to his villainous turn on HBO’s The White Lotus, Jake Lacy frequently played the kind of apple pie sweet characters who anyone would want to introduce to their parents. Often, he plays a love interest or friend, not the main character. In the next phase of his career, Lacy is hoping to shift into different types of roles. Particularly, he wants to move away from playing nice guys.

Jake Lacy in a gray suit and blue shirt in front of a bouquet of flowers.
Jake Lacy | Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu

Jake Lacy is frequently typecast as a nice guy

Lacy so often plays nice guys that lists exist to rank which of his characters is the kindest. These characters typically comfort the film or series’ female protagonist. For example, in Fosse/Verdon, Lacy plays Ron, a stabilizing force in Gwen Verdon’s life. He is supportive and kind in the face of her toxic professional life. 

Lacy’s most likable character is rightfully considered Max in The Obvious Child. After a one-night stand results in pregnancy, Max is warmly supportive of Jenny Slate’s character. He even heats up a packet of butter in his hands so that it’s easier for her to spread. 

The actor wants to move into different types of roles

Despite his skill in this type of role, Lacy wants to move away from the “nice guy” cliche. He joked he doesn’t want to take on any more of his typical characters unless “the money is insane.”

For this reason, Lacy was thrilled at the opportunity to play Shane on The White Lotus. The character is snobbish and carelessly cruel, a stark departure from Lacy’s typical roles. Still, his past performances came in handy in the portrayal. Lacy recognizes that some of Shane’s most unpleasant moments come when he’s trying to be nice.

“He knows he’s allowed to be an a–hole, and he thinks he’s being generous by not immediately being an a–hole. But that’s not the same as grace or compassion,” Lacy told Vulture. “It’s just someone cocking their arm back and being like, ‘Dude, don’t make me hit you.’”

He also noted that some of his more recent roles feature a kind of hollow goodness. If High Fidelity continued past the first season, he wanted to explore the darkness in his sweet, pulled-together character.

“Instead of just having him be out-of-the-womb aw-shucks, I wanted it to be him making a conscious effort to be this person,” he said. 

What will Jake Lacy be in next?

In future roles, audiences can see Lacy explore characteristics beyond niceness. In the upcoming Lucille Ball biopic, Being the Ricardos, Lacy will play an I Love Lucy writer grappling with accusations that Ball is a communist. He’ll also star in the series Space, about a deteriorating couple who realizes they can jump into the bodies of other couples.

Jake Lacy as Shane in HBO's 'The White Lotus' finale. He's wearing a yellow polo shirt and leaning on a dinner table, which has a white table cloth and is set with utensils and glasses.
Jake Lacy in ‘The White Lotus’ | Mario Perez/HBO

Lacy also said he’d be happy to return to playing Shane on The White Lotus Season 2. This would see him again embracing an entirely unsympathetic character.

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