Sydney Sweeney and Aubrey Plaza Both Compared Filming ‘The White Lotus’ to ‘The Shining’

The White Lotus Season 2 is well underway, and fans seem to be enjoying the sophomore season of the HBO satire as much as the original season. Featuring almost an entirely new cast, the show has reinvented itself with a new backdrop and cast of outlandish characters. Aubrey Plaza, in particular, has received a lot of buzz for her portrayal of Harper Spiller in the show. The Parks and Recreation alum seems to be getting as much, if not more press, than Sydney Sweeney did last season.

The White Lotus alum Sydney Sweeney
‘The White Lotus’ alum Sydney Sweeney | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sydney Sweeney received critical acclaim for her performance in ‘The White Lotus’ Season 1

Sweeney hit it big when she was cast in season 1 of The White Lotus. Not only was it a boon to her career, with her portrayal of Olivia Mossbacher earning her an Emmy nomination, but it also helped her through quarantine. Booking the role meant that Sweeney got to come out of lockdown and instead spend a nice chunk of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Hawaii working on what she loves.

Sweeney compared filming in Hawaii to ‘The Shining’

Because The White Lotus Season 1 was filmed in 2020 prior to a vaccine, the cast and crew dealt with a lot of restrictions. In order to keep everyone as safe as possible, they had to adhere to a number of rules. A big rule was that Sweeney, and the rest of the cast, weren’t allowed to leave The Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, where the show was filmed. This led to Sweeney feeling like she was in The Shining.

“On The White Lotus, we quarantined in our hotel rooms, and then after that we still weren’t allowed to leave the property and no one was allowed to come on to the property, so it started to feel like a very tropical version of The Shining,” Sweeney revealed to Glamour. “What an amazing way to spend the last few months of 2020. Like I said, very grateful.”

Aubrey Plaza also compared her experience filming ‘The White Lotus’ Season 2 to ‘The Shining’

Interestingly enough, Plaza also compared her experience filming The White Lotus Season 2 in 2022 to The Shining as well. Despite the fact that the show was filmed in a drastically different part of the world, she had a similar experience to Sweeney. While on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Plaza spoke about filming at San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel in Sicily, Italy.

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“We were living there for months, and we were shooting in the hotel that we were living at.” Plaza explained about filming The White Lotus Season 2. “And there is kind of like a psychological effect that it has on you after a while. It’s like, kind of like The Shining kind of vibes. It was fun. But in like The Shining kind of way.”

Plaza explains what it was like to film and live in a hotel in Sicily

Continuing on, Plaza went into more depth about why she, like Sweeney, likened the experience of shooting The White Lotus Season 2 to The Shining. “It’s just weird because you’re like living in one hotel room, and then it’s time to go to work,” Plaza explained. “So you leave your hotel room, and you walk down the hall and go into your other room, which is like your dressing room, and it’s just a weird — you can’t escape. You can’t escape it for months. We were living in this really small town in Sicily. We overran that town, the cast. It was the off-season there.”

Clearly, filming The White Lotus was an interesting experience for both Plaza and Sweeney. However, the weirdness that they felt likely contributed to the unique vibe of the show.