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Princess Margaret’s wild final years on the island of Mustique | Culture

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When aristocrat Colin Tennant, the 3rd Baron Glenconner, bought an exotic Caribbean island north of Venezuela for £45,000 in 1958, his wife Anne thought he had lost his mind. On this four-square-mile islet that he named Mustique, because it was infested with mosquitoes, barely a few cotton fields were visible. There was neither drinking water nor electricity. But despite this, he set himself a goal: to turn the piece of land into the favorite residence for the wealthy. After building a primitive airport a year after their arrival, as well as their own house, the Tennants laid the foundations for what would end up being one of the most successful real estate businesses of recent decades.

What seemed to the press an impenetrable bohemian paradise immediately caught the attention of Princess Margaret. She fell in love with it in 1960, the year in which Elizabeth II’s younger sister starred in the first televised royal wedding in history. After saying “I do” to photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones (who was given the title of Lord Snowdon), the couple embarked on a six-week trip to the Caribbean on the yacht Britannia. Anne Tennant was not just Margaret’s friend and confidante but also her lady-in-waiting at Westminster Abbey, and she suggested the newlywed couple stop at Mustique. As soon as the ship was anchored, they went for a swim.

Princess Margaret and Colin Tennant, in February 1989.
Princess Margaret and Colin Tennant, in February 1989.Slim Aarons (Getty Images)

During their days on the island, they had no choice but to shower with buckets of water hanging from some trees. And they were not exactly received with an opulent banquet: there was only fish and the occasional can of preserves. Against all odds, the princess was fascinated by the experience. On their last night of that honeymoon, when Colin himself asked her “do you want something in a little box, or would you prefer a piece of land?”, Margaret replied, “Oh, I think a piece of land would be wonderful.” Antony was not amused by the proposal at all. Moreover, it is known that he referred to the island as “Mustake.” He never set foot there again.

Not until years later, at the beginning of 1968, did Margaret call Colin to demand her belated wedding gift: “Were you really serious about the land?” “Yes,” he replied. “And does it come with a house?” she retorted. The baron complied with her wishes. A few months after that call, she returned to Mustique. Accompanied by Colin and Anne, and dressed in simple pajamas, she was shown around Gelliceaux Point, the highest and most inaccessible point on the islet. The construction of Les Jolies Eaux, a neo-Georgian villa with five bedrooms, two swimming pools and austere white furniture, was concluded on the point in 1972. After that, the princess began to visit the mansion twice a year, in the months of October or November and in February. The wayward princess, thousands of miles from London, had finally found that longed-for home where she could feel free.

Princess Margaret with a friend on a beach in Mustique on February 1, 1976.
Princess Margaret with a friend on a beach in Mustique on February 1, 1976. Anwar Hussein (Getty Images)

In the early 1970s, just over a dozen families resided in Mustique. Every afternoon, without exception, the owners took turns hosting the best parties of the time in their homes. They played cards until the wee hours of the morning and danced like there was no tomorrow. Alcohol also ran freely. Those who shared those evenings with Margaret affirm that a good bottle of Famous Grouse, her favorite brand of whiskey, and two packs of tobacco were never missing from the table.

How did the princess behave in an intimate gathering? She “could be very wild and unrestrained. And she could be very difficult. She liked to be spoiled and taken care of. If she felt well cared for, she was fun,” several sources say. They also say that, above all, she “was a royal person.” In fact, even with people she trusted most, no one dared to give her a kiss or a hug. Likewise, she had to be addressed as “her royal highness.” Even on the beach collecting shells, she had to be greeted with a bow. (Only the British were obliged to the latter; the Americans, if they wanted, could skip the protocol.) Everyone agrees that Margaret loved being surrounded by men, the younger the better.

Roddy Llewellyn, Princess Margaret's lover, in an image from February 1976, the year their relationship was discovered.
Roddy Llewellyn, Princess Margaret’s lover, in an image from February 1976, the year their relationship was discovered.Anwar Hussein (Getty Images)

In 1973, while she was still married, the Tennants introduced her to a landscape gardener named Roddy Llewellyn at their Scottish estate. He was 26 years old; she, 43. Previously, the British press had already speculated on the possibility that Margaret had been unfaithful to Lord Snowdon with personalities as varied as Mick Jagger, Peter Sellers, Warren Beatty and the actor John Bindon. But Roddy was different.

The couple did their best to hide their love, but in 1976 the now-defunct News of The World published some exclusive photographs of the two sharing more than a swim on one of the island’s paradisiacal beaches. The scandal was immediate. Antony Armstrong-Jones also had a mistress, Lucy Lindsay-Hogg, the ex-wife of filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg. But unlike Margaret, nobody caught him red-handed. Although everyone knew that their marriage was not as idyllic as they made it look, those snapshots were the trigger for their divorce in 1978, the first by a member of British royalty since Henry VIII did the same in 1533. Margaret, no longer tied down, had free rein to continue her relationship with Roddy. However, she did not count on her young conquest confessing in 1981 that he was seeing Tatiana Soskin, the wife of film producer Paul Soskin. Said confession also occurred in Mustique.

Princess Margaret enjoying a bath with Roddy.
Princess Margaret enjoying a bath with Roddy.Anwar Hussein (Getty Images)

In 1976, the paradisiacal island ceased to be a secret for most mortals for another more hedonistic reason. That year, on the occasion of Colin Tennant’s 50th birthday, the elite destination held the most notorious party to date. Besides spraying faux gold on Macaroni Beach, the Baron hired burly locals from the area, dressed in little more than a coconut shell as a loincloth, to entertain his exclusive diners. The photographs of that night, in which Margaret could be seen having a great time, soon reached the British newspapers. Thus was born the legend of Mustique, the place where the most extravagant would always be well received. The shindig was a marketing ploy orchestrated by Tennant to attract other rich and famous people. It worked. Mick Jagger and David Bowie rushed to build their own mansions on that untamed piece of land. Many others followed in their footsteps.

Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall on Mustique on February 18, 1987.
Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall on Mustique on February 18, 1987.Georges De Keerle (Getty Images)

Even Queen Elizabeth II fell for Mustique’s charms. In 1977 she, along with her husband, settled for a few days at Les Jolies Eaux. She wanted to see with her own eyes that paradise that her sister had told her so much about. According to the testimony of Anne Tennant, the Duke of Edinburgh upon arrival told Colin “I see you have ruined the island.” When he left, his opinion had changed radically: “I really like your island. I loved the time I spent here,” he informed him.

Princess Margaret and a group of her friends welcome Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to the island.
Princess Margaret and a group of her friends welcome Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to the island.PA Images (PA Images via Getty Images)

Margaret was happier than ever during the long seasons that she spent in Mustique. There she found her haven of peace, an escape from the frigid streets of London. What she did not imagine was that her dream would unexpectedly be cut short in 1999: she accidentally burned her feet in the bathtub at her island house. At first, she refused to be seen by a doctor and leave Les Jolies Eaux, but given the seriousness of her injuries, Anne herself called Buckingham Palace so that the queen would make her see reason. After a long talk between them, the princess agreed and took a flight to the British capital. Given her deteriorating health, she never got the chance to say goodbye to her beloved villa the way she would have wanted. With her passing in 2002, Mustique was no longer the same.

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Alejandro G. Iñárritu: ‘To migrate is to die a little’ | Culture

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Bardo, the seventh film by the Oscar-winning Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, is full of “Easter eggs” – obscure references to past works, hidden throughout the film like secret little treats. Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (the work’s full title) has echoes of Amores Perros, Birdman, The Revenant, and even Detrás del dinero (Behind the Money), a TV series Iñárritu co-directed with Pelayo Gutiérrez in 1995. Iñárritu’s new movie, a three-hour-long work of autofiction, is an intimately personal project – a kind of distillate of its creator’s own selfhood.

Iñárritu discussed the intricacies of his latest, and most personal, film during a recent long-distance interview with EL PAÍS. The film is a work of great maturity, and a reflection on the identity and experience of someone who, like Iñárritu, has left his country for the United States. It is also a portrait of a person who cannot help but see success through the lens of uncertainty. Iñárritu attended the San Sebastián International Film Festival in northern Spain in September to celebrate the premiere of a new cut of the film. “These films need time,” says Iñárritu. Bardo will play in select theaters in October, and will be available for streaming on Netflix on December 16.

Question. The Chilean writer Benjamín Labatut has said that Bardo is not an autobiography, but rather a succession of mental states.

Answer. That’s a good interpretation. I’ve always said that Mexico is not a country; it’s a state of mind. When you leave a country, your involuntary memory becomes your richest source of imagination. That uncertainty of sensations, feelings, memories, fears and illusions is the foundation of Bardo. I tried to put all these impulses in order. Or at least to give them a sense of meaning the only way I know how, which is through images and cinema. I wouldn’t call it a film with a coherent or traditional structure. My sense is that they’re traces of memory.

Q. After Biutiful, you said that you were feeling somewhat tired of conventional narratives. It seems like critics are judging Bardo based on ideas of a certain traditional model of storytelling.

A. You make some films for the public, and with others you have the luxury of making them for yourself out of a vital or existential need. Bardo is one of those films. Sometimes you make films not to reaffirm conventions, but to break them. There’s an implicit risk in what we’re doing; there’s no recipe to follow. These films need time, in contrast to what we now call “content” – consumer products, structures, genres and tones that are already well understood within an industry. This film obeys another set of rules.

Q. You’ve said that to make a film without fear is an exercise in banality. That fear is an ally. What were your fears in making Bardo?

A. To open the cellar of one’s own history is always terrifying. It’s also useless. To make a film is useless. So is to dream. All of this is useless except for those who do it. Then, doing it becomes an essential, life-affirming act. What I realized over the years is that the narratives that bind together entire countries, the stories we’re instilled with from childhood, are always interpreted through our nervous system. They’re built into us. They give us identity, a sense of belonging and collective power. When you leave, you start to see these narratives in perspective, and with time and distance they dissolve. Your own experiences and relationships, your feelings of affection toward your parents, your friends, your country. The stories our mind weaves start to unravel, to be questioned, and everything becomes uncertain. This is why the main character says that memory has no truth, only emotional conviction. This is the most complicated and delicate part. I don’t remember my childhood; I have no images of those years. I envy anyone who can build a narrative of their life, and find their reason for existing, from there – from the beginning of everything. For me, it’s the other way around. It’s perhaps the past 25 years of my life where I might find some clues about what my early years were like. And that’s what I’m doing. These are the questions I ask myself, that have no answers.

The actor Daniel Giménez Cacho in an exclusive image from the film 'Bardo' by Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
The actor Daniel Giménez Cacho in an exclusive image from the film ‘Bardo’ by Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu.ETTORE FERRARI (EFE)

Q. During filming, you were considering Limbo as a title. At what point did you decide to change it to Bardo?

A. They’re similar concepts. One from Catholicism, where limbo is a place for the souls of infants and small children who die before being baptized and are thus denied entry into heaven. That’s a bit reductive. But bardo is a similar concept in the Buddhist tradition – a state in which all things are in constant transition. We die and are reborn all the time. For me, to migrate is to die a little. It implies a certain acceptance of the end of something, of being reborn again and of reinventing yourself. That integration into a new culture implies the disintegration of what came before. That’s the bardo I’m talking about. And in the end, the final migration, which is inevitable and touches us all: death. At my age, you start to think about it. It makes you laugh, makes you reassess, forces you to try to put things in order.

Q. You mentioned your childhood. In one scene, the protagonist, who has become a child, encounters his father in the bathroom at a dancehall. His father tells him that success is something you should only take a little taste of, and then spit it out, because otherwise it poisons you.

A. That’s literally something my father said. He always maintained a very guarded attitude toward success, something he never experienced himself. I used it because it’s something that stuck with me. With my father, there was never really any praise. Not because he had bad intentions; he just thought that reinforcing someone’s successes or virtues might make that person believe it so much that they’d stop doing what they did naturally. The character, in one part of the film, is grappling with his own mind. The first 25 minutes are about him, his award, his interview. Then it gets diluted and becomes a film about the heart. For me, Bardo is full of humor, moving between the sublime and the stupid, the ridiculous and the painful, just like life. It’s not a dive into obscurities, but a glide over the surface.

Daniel Giménez Cacho in a still from 'Bardo,' which was filmed in the streets of Mexico City's historic center.
Daniel Giménez Cacho in a still from ‘Bardo,’ which was filmed in the streets of Mexico City’s historic center.SeoJu Park (Netflix)

Q. You opt for catharsis in all of your projects. Was that the case here?

A. For me it was a compulsory exercise because of my age and my need to free myself, and thus to be able to share, without filters or disguises, a very fragile mental and emotional state that’s difficult to articulate in words. If I had been a painter, I would have painted a self-portrait, which is always a well-received endeavor. Or a maximalist mural in the vein of [José Clemente] Orozco. But I don’t know how to paint. And words? Only writers like Octavio Paz or Jorge Luis Borges, or Rulfo, [Julio] Cortázar, César Vallejo – only they were able to make sense of the nonsense. With those talents far out of my reach, I stuck to what I could do with the 32 cinematographic sequences that make up this film.

I think those of us who have this experienced share something that’s difficult to speak about. Those of us who have left, even if we return to our country, we can never return. There’s no going back. This is a feature of the hybrid culture that very much defines our times. For those who have not left – in this case, people from the United States, who are culturally self-contained and speak a language that’s spoken all over the world – this can be difficult to understand.

A scene from 'Bardo,' premiering in theaters on November 18 and available for streaming on Netflix starting December 16.
A scene from ‘Bardo,’ premiering in theaters on November 18 and available for streaming on Netflix starting December 16.SeoJu Park (Netflix)

Q. You met Guillermo del Toro when he came to help you edit Amores Perros and suggested that you cut the film down. That it was 20 minutes too long. In Venice, Bardo received a lot of criticism for being three hours long. Do you think this criticism is unfair?

A. I think some one-hour movies are totally unbearable and way too long. And then there are films that are three and a half hours long and they’re some of my favorites. This kind of thinking seems superficial to me. There’s an obsession with runtime or the box office, as if these things were important. Editing a film is an endless process. It’s like editing a book. Rulfo spent nearly 17 years editing Pedro Páramo, an audacious process of extraction. It’s always hard to know where the final waters of a film will flow. My processes are long. In fact, with a lot of my films I’ve made edits up to the very last minute. I was making little tweaks to 21 Grams until the day it premiered. You let a film go because of a deadline, like a festival or a premiere. In this case, with Bardo, I finished the film two days before I left for Venice. I’m very happy to say that I’m just now incorporating some extra scenes that weren’t finished in time for the premiere. I also tightened up the internal rhythm of a few other scenes. The essence of the film is intact, but I had the opportunity to put a final touch on it, to do a little acupuncture. I’m very rigorous. I’m a butcher. I share that with Guillermo del Toro; we’re very hard on ourselves.

Q. There’s a plot throughout the film, playing out in the background, in which a large corporation is about to buy up a part of Mexico. It’s a commentary on colonialism that I think has been missed or overlooked by the Anglo world.

A. The reductions or personal accusations based on what other people assume my intentions were in making this film have made them unable to see everything that’s there. This film speaks to all of that, and much more. It summons the smells of Mexico City and speaks of the last, lost gasps of my dying father, who left before I could be by his side. It speaks of childhood adolescence, which arrives without warning. Of the fading memory of our son Luciano whom we lost – a central focus of the film. It speaks of our friends with white hair that we didn’t notice were aging. Of the weddings and funerals we missed, of the city that no longer is. And it speaks, also, of life, cumbia, and the heat of Mexico coexisting with death, with disappearance and impunity. It’s a very Mexico City film, I think.

Q. You make the film’s protagonist, Silverio Gama, into a reporter working in the deadliest country in the world for journalists. But I didn’t notice any commentary on the violence experienced by the press in Mexico.

A. In a way, the relationship between two characters, Silverio and Luis, his nemesis, speaks, I think, to the situation of journalists who stay in Mexico, who are very brave, and speaks to the impunity that exists, but also to the way truth is subjected to an increasing series of distortions. We all have this feeling, that truth is slipping out of our grasp.

Q. After working with cinematographers like Rodrigo Prieto and Emmanuel “El Chivo” Lubeski, how did Darius Khondji end up being the cinematographer for Bardo?

A. Darius is a brother I didn’t meet until I was 59. He’s French-Iranian and has a universal soul. He’s also experienced a version of this cultural dislocation, from living in another country, which is France, but having Iranian roots. We share that genesis and we share an excitement for visual exploration. Never in my life have I worked so hard for a film to have such fluidity of time and space, to appear this dreamlike and surreal. There was a lot of storyboarding, a lot of design and motion work, to be able to enter the stream of consciousness. It’s a fluid film that took many, many months to make. I’d say about two years of pre-production, and then it was interrupted twice because of the pandemic.

Q. The film draws very clear connections to Birdman. You teamed up again with screenwriter Nicolás Giacobone. Why return to an exploration of the ego after making a film with such a perfect tone and form?

A. Unlike Riggan Thompson, the superhero actor played by Michael Keaton who’s furiously trying to be seen and recognized again, this film is not about ego; it’s about uncertainty. The protagonist questions the appreciation he seeks from those who despise him. It’s about uneasiness and success, which is this smoke that escapes him and never satisfies him. It’s a reflection I make, out of the things that one exchanges. It’s not about ego, but about questioning the ego. That’s just part of it; the rest is diluted into much deeper things.

Translated by Max Granger

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Foreign residents in Geneva could get voting rights

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This legislation, adopted on Friday by the Geneva parliament, introduces several reforms, including the sorting obligation for households, businesses, and public entities.

It aims at at reducing the amount of waste generated in the canton, improving recycling, and disposing of trash in an environmentally friendly manner.  The initial objective is to lower incinerable waste by 25 percent within the next three years.

Geneva is the only canton in Switzerland that has not required the use of taxed trash bags, as every other city and canton has. These are either specially designated bags, priced according to their size (35, 60, or 100 litres) and place of residence, or a sticker to be affixed to a bag.  Taxes collected from the sale of these bags are used for municipal waste management.

However, Geneva has relied “on the voluntary collaboration of people” and has not required the bag tax, “which represents a high cost for households and whose effects in other cantons have not been convincing over time”, cantonal authorities said in a press release.   

In Geneva, the only rule is that “household waste must be placed in sturdy, watertight and closed bags meeting the OKS standard and then deposited in a container”.

OKS garbage bags are tested and certified for quality and resistance in accordance with the guidelines of the Swiss Association of Municipal Infrastructure.

However, as everywhere in the country, only non-recyclables can be bagged and tossed in the container; everything else should be sorted and properly recycled.

READ MORE: Trash talk: What are the rules for garbage disposal in Switzerland?

What are the new rules?

The new legislation not only makes sorting and disposing of waste mandatory for everyone, but it will also ban single-use plastic, including disposable tableware and non-recyclable containers for take-away food — the only canton so far to take such measures.

Also, all plastic bags available in stores, including those intended for fruit and vegetables, will no longer be free of charge.

Additionally, all shops must provide special space for the customers to sort the packaging and leave waste on the premises. “This obligation should encourage retailers to drastically reduce the packaging of goods”, according to the canton.

What changes will you have to make?

While up to now you might have skipped on the sorting and recycling front, at least some of the time, the new law makes it compulsory everywhere in the canton, so it is no longer a matter of doing it sometimes but not always, and hoping nobody will notice.

These official links tell you what the canton expects you to do to reduce and properly dispose of your household waste.

And if you think any rule-breaking will go unnoticed, it probably will not.

“The noise, weight, smell and shape of the bags are all relevant indicators for assessing the quality of household sorting”, the canton said.

Inspectors will carry out spot checks and offenders will be fined for non-compliance.

While this system already exists in some communities, it is more random. In Geneva, on the other hand, it will become more thorough, as “powers of the municipalities in this area are extended”.

You have, however, some time to get used to the new rule.

Geneva’s Council of State will decide when the new law will enter into law and what the penalties will be.

The ban on the use of single-use plastic , however, will be enacted no later than January 1st, 2025.



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Jennifer Coolidge returns to ‘The White Lotus,’ the series that brought her late-in-life success | Culture

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When Jennifer Coolidge was announced as the winner of the Emmy for best supporting actress in a miniseries for The White Lotus, on September 12, the 1990s house song “Finally” played in the background. The chorus (”Finally it has happened to me”) was appropriate for the actress’s long-awaited moment of recognition. Thanks to the dark comedy by HBO Max and a character that her friend Mike White, creator of the show, conceived expressly for her, the actress has finally been embraced by an industry that had ignored her for decades.

Her bizarre award acceptance speech, in which she confessed to bathing in lavender which caused her to “swell up” inside her dress, ran out of time and ended up dancing on stage, won over the audience. The viral moment blurred the line between fact and fiction, evoking the character of Tanya McQuoid, the delusional millionaire that Coolidge plays in the series whose second season begins on October 31.

“Two years ago I was about to buy a flower shop because I really thought I wasn’t going to be able to pursue acting. And look where we are now,” said the actress in April in Taormina (Sicily), during the filming of the new episodes of The White Lotus. Little did she know that her Emmy would arrive five months later.

Her career was marked by her role in American Pie (2000), where she seduced one of her college son’s friends. But she feels like she was typecast almost from the start, in the early 1990s, when she debuted with an episodic role on the hit show of the day, Seinfeld. “So, there was a certain type of woman with, let’s say, non-standard beauty who always played the crazy best friend of the protagonists, the weird sidekick. I told my agent that I was no longer interested in doing that, that I wanted to do stand-up comedy. And I spent four years trying to make a living from it. Until I returned to those characters,” she recounted from Italy, as she resumed the role with which she managed to vindicate her career.

After a series of jobs to make the rent, and public appearances not unlike that at the Emmys, Coolidge became a charming disaster, an aesthetic reference known for tacky haute couture, always sweet and often clumsy and out of place.

Left to right: Aubrey Plaza, Will Sharpe, Theo James and Meghann Fahey in the second season of ‘The White Lotus.’

A small role a few years ago in the celebrated Promising Young Woman changed things somewhat. But, the actress says, everything took a great qualitative leap when her friend Mike White brought out The White Lotus. “No one had asked me to be the protagonist of their story until he arrived. It’s like he gave the rest of the industry permission to give me those kinds of roles.” Coolidge is now preparing projects with leading roles alongside David Harbor (Stranger Things), Anthony Mackie (the new Captain America) and Reese Witherspoon. Ryan Murphy has cast her in his Netflix feature The Watcher, and she will join Jennifer Lopez in Shotgun Wedding.

She and Mike White met while playing a wedding couple in the independent comedy Gentlemen Broncos (2009) by Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess. They have been close friends ever since. They travel together and live together for months on end. “He has me hooked. I think he finds it hilarious that I can continue to live as I am,” says the actress. For 15 years, he had promised the actress that he would write a series or a movie exclusively for her so that she could shine. He completed a script in 2018 and pitched it to as many networks as possible, but no one was interested in the pitch. When The White Lotus arrived, White cast her to compensate for not having kept his promise, not knowing that the consolation prize would give her the triumph that she had only glimpsed.

In the first season of the comedy, the actress plays a woman from a wealthy background named Tanya McQuoid. She encourages Natasha, one of the workers at the luxury resort where she is on vacation, to set up her own business with her financial help. But Tanya meets a man and gets distracted from her initial project of helping her new friend. In the new episodes, the millionaire gets what she wants. She has high expectations regarding her love life, but she discovers that it may not bring her happiness. “When you have a lot of money, it is much more disappointing to not do the right thing. It is in your hand to change other lives for the better. But there are also times when people tend to think that if you are in a privileged position, you can do anything. I’ve been asked many times for help getting into a film or television project and, when I don’t succeed, people have stopped talking to me,” she confesses.

Jennifer Coolidge in 'The White Lotus'.
Jennifer Coolidge in ‘The White Lotus’.

The actress is aware that she is a muse of someone special in Hollywood, who, in his own way, is loyal to her. White was an unsuccessful actor who decided to spend his unemployment time writing his own stories. He created Enlightened, a comedy that played with the bipolarity of its protagonist. He had a modest win with the story on HBO between 2011 and 2013. Then his career hit a slump again, until The White Lotus came on the same platform. As his face was not well known among the general public, a couple of years ago the writer and director decided to participate in the reality show Survivor, which in the United States is reserved for anonymous contestants. A few weeks ago, White lost all anonymity after receiving the highest recognition in the television industry.

“Mike always knew she was a star who hadn’t found the right material yet,” says David Bernad, executive producer of the comedy and one of the first people to whom they both dedicated their Emmys. Coolidge was faced with the responsibility of playing a character that White had written expressly for her. The actress has underscored the humility that the felt, although when she tells it, she can’t help but make even serious things sound funny: “Sometimes it’s painful. You see how a person who is really smart can see you. And it is not always in an attractive way. It is a difficult mirror to look at. When I read what he writes sometimes I think: ‘Oh, God, Mike has seen me in situations where I’ve been ridiculous. And on top of that, the guy records it through a character. But one of these days I’m going to write about him and what he’s like,” she jokes.

Coolidge understands her friend’s sense of humor: ”Uncomfortable situations are funny to him,” she explains. Sometimes, she adds embarrassing aspects to Tanya that she knows he will like. At other times, she allows herself to become a puppet in White’s hands. In a somewhat tragic scene in the first season, during a funeral aboard a ship, Coolidge improvised, out of necessity, part of her speech, while her co-stars tried not to laugh so as not to spoil the shot. “I don’t remember very well what I did because I was terribly ill. Mike knows I hate boats. He has seen it with his own eyes. That’s why he decided to do that dramatic sequence in one of them. I was filling an entire bucket of vomit inches from my castmates. It was disgusting and I had no privacy at all, because the boat was much smaller than what I was promised. But he thought it was all very funny,” she says, feigning indignation. “I knew she didn’t like going on a boat… Well, it’s true that sometimes I torture her a bit for the sake of comedy,” he admits with a laugh.

“Mike has a memory like an elephant for all the embarrassing situations I go through, but he also pays close attention to what I want. That’s also in my character. With him, I don’t feel like I’m acting. He has a broad and compassionate perspective and sees the good and the bad in people. He forgives his characters, however they may be. I guess that’s why I forgive him,” admits the new queen of comedy.

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