'The White Lotus' Season 3 Scouted Japan as a Location

tanya mcquoid
Why White Lotus Season 3 Isn't Set in JapanHBO
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Ahead of reporting that confirmed that The White Lotus season 3 would be set in Thailand, rumors were that the HBO show would take place in Japan. Now, Japanese producer Georgina Pope is discussing her experiences while scouting for the show.

At the Tokyo Film Festival, Pope, who works for Toho Tombe, said (per Deadline), "The world is in love with Japan. There is a massive global interest in everything Japanese: art, fashion, youth culture, food. And IP such as Anime, Manga, and film." Yet, they are hampered by a lack of a filming permit season. "Most directors want to shoot in Shibuya and Shinjuku. Yet, the days I put on my work boots to shoot in those areas, I’m made to feel like a criminal. There isn’t a proper location permit system in place. It’s all run and gun. And fingers crossed you don’t get shut down or asked to move on. It’s also very risky, especially for a large crew."

Pope told a story of a location scouting trip she went on with a "high profile showrunner," his producers and studio executives. (Deadline later confirmed the showrunner was Mike White.) "It was a great scout. We saw some absolutely stunning locations all over Honshu. The showrunner loved it all, and I was feeling very confident that I had it all in the bag," Pope said. But, the team ended up going with Thailand, perhaps due to creative decisions, difficulties surrounding filming in Japan, and tax incentives.

It's as yet unclear where in Thailand where White Lotus season three will film; the last two seasons filmed at Four Seasons resorts. "The first season highlighted money, and then the second season is sex. I think the third season will be a satirical and funny look at death and Eastern religion and spirituality," Mike White said after the season two finale. "It feels like it could be a rich tapestry to do another round at White Lotus."

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