Jennifer Coolidge almost didn’t take her role in the HBO breakout series “The White Lotus” because of some lockdown weight gain.
The 60-year-old actress admitted she was nervous about being on camera after putting on 30 or 40 lbs. during the pandemic.
“I just didn’t want to be on camera that fat because of my excessive eating during COVID,” Coolidge told Page Six, “I thought we were all going to die [during the pandemic], I really did, so I was just eating myself to death. Vegan pizzas, sometimes five or six in a day.”
The “Legally Blonde” star said she was going to tell “White Lotus” creator Mike White she was passing on the role but then a friend sent her straight.
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“She said, ‘Jennifer this is all you have! What the f–k?’ She was like, ‘These opportunities don’t come around, you idiot!'” Coolidge recalled.
“We all need these friends,” she said. “A lot of actors make huge mistakes, I don’t know why, we want a great moment to happen but then when it comes along we somehow talk ourselves out of it, I think that’s very typical of an actor, to screw it up for themselves but I had a great friend that stopped me from doing that.”
Coolidge played Tanya McQuoid in the dramedy series about wealthy travelers staying at a luxury resort in Hawaii and the staff that serves them.
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“I was always kind of pudgy anyway so what’s another 40 pounds,” Coolidge reasoned. “It’s all in our head. I’m just glad I had a good friend who talked me off the ledge and didn’t blow a really cool gig. If I had watched ‘White Lotus’ and realized I [could have done it] I would have jumped off a bridge.”
Coolidge has a number of new projects in the works including “Shotgun Wedding” starring Jennifer Lopez and “Legally Blonde 3” with Reese Witherspoon.
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“Someone in the press down there told me that Elle Woods, Reese is coming back as a mother and I haven’t heard that. Maybe these people are ahead of the game or maybe they’re just trying to throw that at me. I haven’t heard anything,” Coolidge told People magazine.
“All I know is Mindy Kaling and her [writing] partner [Dan Goor] just finished the script maybe, but Reese hasn’t given me any details,” the actress added. “She sends me little DMs and hearts and says, you know, ‘Getting geared up,’ but I haven’t gotten the official, ‘We’re filming in July’ or anything yet.”