Best of 2021: Molly C. Quinn on The White Lotus

The actress and producer, who’s currently starring in the religious horror-drama Agnes, on her favorite TV show of the year.

I loved The White Lotus. I loved everything about it, from every individual actor, to their storylines, to the heightened, trembling score score, which perfectly sets up the world of the show. I was really drawn to the character of Quinn (played by Fred Hechinger), the young man who decides to stay at the resort. Even though his parents say, “Don’t be silly, you can’t stay here. You have come back with us,” he’s self-aware enough to know he doesn’t like his life. He has been unsure where he wants to go, but finally he’s found something he’s attracted to and is just going to follow it. I think I liked that character and storyline so much because I relate to not fitting it. It’s my journey to acting, in a way: feeling completely out of place as a young person in a small town, falling in love with acting, having no idea where the road was going to take me, but having to pursue it anyway.

The humor and tone of The White Lotus is totally delicious. I would just sit back and stare, not believing what was going to happen next, but knowing it was going to be entertaining. I think that was my favorite thing about The White Lotus. I watched the whole series thinking, “What’s going to happen? Someone’s going to do something awful, aren’t they?” Everyone does terrible things every single time, and I really get a lot of joy from watching people’s bad decisions and mistakes! It kind of makes you feel good about yourself, because you have such a heightened comparison: “No matter how bad I am, these people are worse!” (On that note, I also love Curb Your Enthusiasm and am obsessed with the current season.)

It’s so ingenious to set a show in a hotel, and getting to see these families and their dynamics. It’s almost like a series of short films, and every episode you’re able to dip into the different storylines. It keeps things so fresh. And because so many of the characters are wealthy, we’re witnessing these crazy, privileged problems, but they’re real to those people and they’re different in each case. I really enjoyed watching the characters’ dilemmas play out, and then, of course, everything goes absolutely insane. If you haven’t watched already, you really need to!

I am so impressed when I watch a stellar piece of programming like The White Lotus. Looking at things from a producing perspective, I would think, “Oh, I really like that subject matter. I wonder if we could find something like that …” But the actor part of my brain just said, “I want to do that. I want to be there. I want to be good enough to be in season two of The White Lotus.” And that’s how that show made me feel. I was like, “Damn, I want to be in that playground! I want to hang out with these people, I want to memorize those scripts and work with Jennifer Coolidge and be in that gorgeous utopia!” It’s very much a gilded birdcage. My actor brain was very envious! It seems like everyone who worked on the show had a really good time. They’re making a second season and I know Jennifer Coolidge is in it, but each season will be a standalone story, which is so fresh, so fun. I love following characters all the way through a show, but I also really enjoy getting to meet different people and being in a different place each time.

Molly C. Quinn is an actress and producer living in Los Angeles. Molly stars in the new horror/drama Agnes, which premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, and is out now through Magnet Releasing. Aside from starring in the film, Molly also executive produced the film through her production company QWGMIRE, which she formed in 2019 with Elan Gale and Matthew Welty. Molly may be best known for starring as Alexis Castle from 2009 to 2016 on the award-winning series Castle, opposite Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic, and she recently appeared in Doctor Sleep, opposite Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson. Molly currently lives in the LA area, with her fiancé and their two dogs; Piper and Pikachu. (Photo by the Riker Brothers.)