Jennifer Coolidge says ‘The White Lotus’ helped her break from “gold digger” typecast roles

“I wish I had been more involved in the control of my career”

Jennifer Coolidge has said she felt typecast with “gold digger” roles before starring in HBO series The White Lotus.

The actor, known for playing Jeanine Stifler in American Pie, beautician Paulette in Legally Blonde and gold digger Sherri Ann Cabot in 2000 film Best In Show, discussed how she felt “locked” into certain roles over the past decade.

Speaking to Vanity Fair in conversation with American Pie co-star Natasha Lyonne, Coolidge said: “I did these jobs that I felt like locked me into a certain perception. I was in this weird bubble for a really long time. And it just goes to show that you should really hold out and not just keep repeating yourself, but I was always desperate for the job. A lot of the time I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’ll ever have an offer again.’

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“Truly, except for a few fun little movie jobs like Austenland, it wasn’t until Mike White really gave me a part [in The White Lotus] where I was really playing something very different. Look, everything happens in its time, but there was this very long period of just repeating myself.”

The White Lotus
Jennifer Coolidge in ‘The White Lotus’ CREDIT: Mario Perez/ HBO/ The Hollywood Archive

She added: “I’m saying there was a period where, except for an occasional Christopher Guest movie, the scripts arriving at my door were lots of gold digger parts. It was a certain kind of thing that I had already done. I guess that’s what happens to us a lot unless we steer it a different way.

“I wish I had been more involved in the control of my career. I just sat back, I was very passive.”

Coolidge was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes for her performance as Tanya McQuoid in The White Lotus.

So far, she’s the only cast member from the first season who will reprise her role in season two. She’ll join new additions Michael Imperioli, Aubrey Plaza, Haley Lu Richardson, F. Murray Abraham, Adam DiMarco, Tom Hollander, Theo James, Meghann Fahy, Will Sharpe and Leo Woodall.

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Filming on the second season began in February at San Domenico Palace in Taormina, along with other locations in and around Sicily.

In a five-star review of The White Lotus, NME wrote: “There is so much there, all the time, bubbling to the surface, and it would take an impatient viewer not to be seduced by it all.

“Rarely is there a moment where one of the guests isn’t happy or angry, confused or offended, and White manages to balance it all without the whole thing feeling false or like the worst parts of a soap opera. This, as many failed TV shows prove, is a Herculean effort.”

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