‘The White Lotus’: Tom Hollander Says Quentin Is ‘Compassionately Misleading’ Tanya

Quentin is “trying to encourage her to be a bit naughty for the sake of her own sanity,” Hollander told TheWrap

Tom Hollander and Jennifer Coolidge
Tom Hollander and Jennifer Coolidge in The White Lotus (HBO)

After Greg leaves Tanya all by her lonesome with only the comfort of her assistant, Portia, on their romantic Sicilian getaway in “The White Lotus” Season 2, Tanya quickly finds refuge in her friendship with Quentin, who Tom Hollander says is “compassionately misleading” Tanya as she confides in Quentin about her marriage struggles.

“He thinks she should escape what sounds like a miserable situation,” Hollander told TheWrap in a recent interview. “Quentin is trying to give her the confidence to not be limited by her unsatisfactory marriage or unfulfilling marriage.”

Although Tanya and Quentin first meet at the luxury hotel in Sicily, Quentin and his charming nephew, Jack, whisk Tanya and Portia away to Quentin’s villa in Palermo, where Quentin and his friends encourage Tanya to take her mind off of her marriage.

“I think he’s trying to get her into the idea of being a bit transgressive and not worrying about cheating on him,” Hollander said. “He’s compassionately misleading her, I suppose, or trying to encourage her to be a bit naughty for the sake of her own sanity and happiness.”

Though no outright debauchery has happened as of yet, the two share an immediate connection after Quentin compliments Tanya’s bold style and invites her to relax at the beach club with him and his community of gay friends, where Tanya tells Quentin her story — starting from the very beginning.

“Quentin feels that Tanya is a magnificent, tragic outsider that he can put his arms around and look after for a bit and have fun with it,” Hollander said.

While in Palermo, Tanya and Quentin share a tender moment at the opera, when a rendition of “Madame Butterfly” in an elaborate opera house moves Tanya to tears.

“In that opera moment, I think they are as close as they ever get,” Hollander said, adding that they are both vulnerable in their conversation after the opera as well. “They’re both outsiders in a way and they find common ground and in ‘Madame Butterfly.’”

Despite the trust between the two, Quentin can’t help himself when he mocks Tanya by taking advantage of her gullibility by convincing her that another opera patron is the nobility. “Quentin is slightly one of those patronizing, upper class British people who can’t help but patronize people,” Hollander said.

Their friendship takes a turn, however, when Tanya witnesses something that sends her questioning everything she thought she knew about Quentin.