Leo Woodall Was Surprised About That ‘White Lotus’ Reveal

Leo Woodall
Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Spoilers for the fifth part of White Lotus season two,”That’s Amore.”

In the middle of the second season of White Lotus, a new bomb enters the villa – or, rather, the old monastery was converted into a luxury hotel. He is a bachelor from Essex called Jack, and is supposed to be Tom Hollander’s character, Quentin, his nephew. He falls hard for Haley Lu Richardson’s Portia, breaking up her new fling with Adam DiMarco’s Albie and convincing her to join him through Sicily. Things are going well for Portia’s love life until the end of episode five, when she leaves him temporarily to “do something for her uncle.” That’s when Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) catches him teasing Quentin – so, maybe not exactly his nephew! The revelation even caught Woodall himself. “I was told I could have a voice and bump into several characters, but I didn’t know who they were.”

So when you signed up for the role of Tom Hollander’s “nephew,” did you know you’d be having sex with him, too?
Well, not the same when I got in, but it wasn’t too long after that. I’d like to be told I can have a rumble and tumble with a couple of characters, but I didn’t know who. When I was told that Tom Hollander was playing my uncle, I was already excited. Then the news came down about that moment and I had only ten seconds of silence, thinking about it.

Can you share any hints about what exactly is going on there?
Not true. [Laughs.] Nothing at all!

What was it like filming that movie?
Tom and I were a little nervous, but Mike White was very quick about everything, especially that day. We were recording other stuff before, and he was like, “… Are you ready?” We had a good proximity coordinator, we took it seriously, but we also had fun with it. It’s definitely time to connect.

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How do you mentally prepare for such events?
The whole task was to prepare mentally to go to the best show in the world, so everything that came with it required mental preparation. My first day of filming was actually an interesting scene with Haley. That was the introduction to this work. Absolutely rock and roll!

Did you feel pressure going into the second season of a show that was so popular in the first season?
It was a combination of “Hit me” and “How am I going to do this?” I watched the first season not knowing there was a pilot in my inbox for the second season. I loved the show, and just a few weeks later I found out I had an audition for the next season. Going into it, I thought some of the stars were aligned and I had to, regardless of the pressure, be as happy as I could.

Outside of the sex scene, what was it like working with Tom Hollander?He is a true gentleman and professional. There was a time when he gave me a lot of strength because I was feeling very burdened earlier. On our second day of shooting, he symbolically put his hand on me and supported me. I have a lot of respect for that.

Coming to the show in the middle of the season, did you also start filming later?
I arrived maybe a week or two after a few others. But I had to travel back and forth from London for the first month or so. We were all friends and I started getting FOMO so I decided not to leave. They did karaoke when I was in London, so that was the deciding factor in the stay.

What was it like staying at the hotel while filming there?
I loved that place. It’s amazing to watch the show, to look down on those streets, and have so many memories of those rooms, that dining area, that bar. I arrived at midnight and I was already like Oh, this is cooland when I woke up with a view I just thought, What happened to me? Then, in the last week we were there, it worked again, and suddenly it was a different hotel. But some of the real workers in the hotel are in the show, which is cool. They looked after us a lot.

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What? do you have a favorite thing you did when you weren’t filming?
There was a beautiful day where me, Meghann, Adam, Beatrice, Simona, Haley, and Aubrey went to the beach and swam to this big rock. There was a lot of the night out. There was a fun day where Meghann and I went to the beach and back and Murray Abraham sat down having a drink and we joined him for a couple of hours and hung out. What? Do you know what the Grand National is? It’s this annual horse race in England. In the morning I got Meghann to bet on the horses and I bet on one, and when we were with Murray I realized that it was happening. I pulled out my phone and mine and Meghann’s horse were in front. My horse won and I was mad. Murray was so happy for me until he realized I hadn’t bet money on him. He was like, “I thought you were going to win 100 grand?” And I said, “No, I’ve got glory.”

It is important that Jack and Portia have more chemistry than Albie and Portia. How did you do that job?
We went for coffee the day before we filmed the scene. We talked trash for several hours and he asked me about my zodiac signs, which I didn’t know much about. I knew a lot as soon as he enlightened me.

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So what are your star signs?
I can’t honestly remember. I know I’m a Virgo, but he told me the moon sets, or rises, or whatever. I have to text to get the whole thing.

Are you from Essex yourself?
I’m from West London. But there are certainly many people I know from Essex. My half-sister is from Essex, so it was fun to rely on that. I didn’t want to make a straight Essex person that you can see The Only Way Is Essex. Mike allowed me, as with Tom, to make the English stand out more, if that makes sense.

How?
Parts of the language, and small changes that an American cannot speak. Like, in England, we use “fit.”

Other actors told me they felt like Mike brought aspects of their personality to the characters. Did you feel that happen?
One hundred percent. There is something amazing about how extraordinary his writing is yet how ordinary and simple he is. He encouraged us to talk. In episode four when we’re at the bar, I made up a line where I say, “Dos Jägermeister, dos Red Bull,” because I thought it would be funny for him to speak Spanish to an Italian bartender. I thought Mike was going to cut it, but I think he kept it!

Maybe it’s the way he says “villa,” but Jack feels like a Island of Love competitor.
Oh, I sure thought Jack could get in Island of Love. He can go from one villa to another.

What was it like filming in the mansion that Quentin supposedly owns?
It was great. Some of the interiors were very strange. There are all these crazy paintings and antiques everywhere. The bedrooms were really dark.

A scary place to record a sex scene!
There was a picture of a dog on the wall, and Tom was like, “Maybe put a dog up there, while we’re in dog style.”

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