The following story contains spoilers for The White Lotus’ Season 1 finale.
We could probably talk for a few hours about everything that was at play in The White Lotus, from the darkly satirical look at the wealthy and out-of-touch vacationers staying at the titular Hawaiian resort (and the working people putting up with their needs and requests just to make a living), to the overarching mystery of someone’s demise that remains the gorilla in the room throughout the show’s six hour-long episodes. But instead of getting into all that, we’re instead going to hone in on a far more grisly mystery of the finale: did Murray Bartlett (who played doomed resort manager Armond) really poop in Shane Patton’s (Jake Lacy) suitcase?
Let’s roll it back just a little bit. When Armond learned he was about to be fired from his post as manager of The White Lotus, he led a drug-fueled final dinner service—it was almost like a victory lap. And what’s a victory lap without shitting on your adversaries? Armond may have had this thought and took the “shitting” part a bit too literally, as he entered the much-discussed Pineapple Suite, where Shane and Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) had been staying, and took a big, graphic, shit right in Shane’s suitcase. Shane had been a thorn in his side all week long, and now he was getting fired because of it. For Armond, this was the only way.
Except this moment of fecal catharsis would have to be Armond’s final moment of any catharsis. Within a few moments, Shane was back in the room. He discovered the turd in his luggage, but not long after a freakout he heard Armond in the room. He grabbed the Pineapple Suite’s Pineapple Knife, and, inspecting the room, found Armond and impulsively stabbed him in the chest. Armond bled out in the Pineapple Suite’s bathtub, not even wiping his ass following his final purposeful dump.
We can talk a lot about the ending—Lacy himself does right here—and we can also speculate on what could possibly be in store for The White Lotus Season 2. But let’s be real—we want to know a little more about how that whole poop-in-a-suitcase thing came to be. So, let’s just get into that, shall we?
No, Armond (Murray Bartlett) did not actually poop in The White Lotus.
I mean, you couldn’t believe someone would actually do that on a film set, right? Scenes don’t actually happen in real-time—every single shot you see in a movie or a TV show is typically performed over and over and over again, so that the editing team has options in post-production. Imagine Bartlett needing to poop in a suitcase over and over and over again? Not to mention the fact that would be incredibly unsanitary and unsettling for everyone involved with the production.
But still, weirder things have happened, we suppose. Esquire asked Bartlett about the poop heard around the world in a post-mortem Lotus interview, and while he played a bit coy (“I can’t break the magic,” he said), he basically confirmed that what we saw was…a bit of good old fashioned Hollywood Flash. Or whatever “Hollywood Flash” substitute phrase we’d use to describe making it look very realistically like a very intoxicated man is taking a shit in a suitcase.
Here’s his full answer
It sounds like poop was…a prop? We can buy that. When we got our look at the dormant turd sitting on top of Shane’s clothing, it certainly looked real, so credit for that. You could smell that thing through your screen.
Was the poop in The White Lotus CGI or a prop?
That seems much more likely. In another interview with Vulture, Bartlett again expressed just how shocked he was at how real the defecation scene looked. “That’s the magic of television,” he said. “I was equally shocked when I saw it. I was like, Oh my God, I didn’t realize it was gonna be that graphic. [Laughs]”
But his death scene partner, Lacy, alluded to “how the fecal sausage is made” during an interview of his own with The Daily Beast, referring (and not directly quoted in the piece) to “a rig that was hiding in the shadows behind Bartlett.” The story also says that Lacy believes CGI was involved in that moment.
There could have been even more poop involved.
In that same Daily Beast story, Lacy mentions that he arrived to set thinking the scene was going to involve “massive, embarrassing, explosive diarrhea that was going to blanket the entire suitcase and hotel room,” because White told him that was the case. When he arrived, curious how that would be done, White told him the truth. “He was like, ‘We’re not doing that,” Lacy said. “That’s disgusting. I was fucking with you…’”
He also reveals that the way things went down in the finale weren’t always set in stone. One option had Armond being stabbed, and falling back against the wall for what would have certainly made a quite gross visual. Bartlett would “have [had] to slide down the wall and have these skid marks as he dies,” as Lacy described. “That was the grossest, funniest, most demoralizing death. Sliding down the wall like that. Alas, we didn’t do it.”
Would have certainly be something. Looks like we’ll have to live with the poop scene we got. So it goes.
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