White Lotus Star Haley Lu Richardson Thinks Portia Haters Need Therapy

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In Jennifer Coolidge’s Variety Actors on Actors conversation with Jeremy Allen White, she proposes that Tanya return to “The White Lotus” as a seagull, so she can poke out the eyes of her evil husband Greg (Jon Gries). Haley Lu Richardson, who played Tanya’s assistant, Portia, weighs in on killing off Greg during this week’s “Just for Variety” podcast.

“Jon and I worked together in the first movie I ever did — when I was 17 — called ‘The Last Survivors,’” she recalls, adding, “I was the hero and he was the villain. I killed him at the end of the movie with a samurai sword.”

She says she’d like to re-create that moment in Season 3 of “The White Lotus,” which takes place in Thailand. “Portia is somewhere in Asia with a samurai sword and kills Greg,” she says, laughing.

Until “White Lotus,” Richardson was most known for her breakout performance in the 2017 indie drama, “Columbus,” followed by “Support the Girls,” “Unpregnant” and “After Yang.”

The “White Lotus” spotlight took some getting used to, especially when Portia was being criticized. “I just hadn’t been in that situation before, so I did get sad,” Richardson says. “There was probably the first couple of episodes where I was seeing some things and reactions to things with Portia and me that I was taking personally or I wasn’t fully sure how to take it or how to process it.”

She eventually came to realize that it was a good thing people were talking about the show in such detail. However, she adds, “The one thing that I thought was actually kind of unfair and warped was the people who were saying that she was awful or she was the real villain of the season.”

Richardson continued, “There’s no way that you can look at that young woman and be like, ‘She is the most awful one on this show.’ People who think that should go to therapy.’”

Warped Portia critics aside, Richardson is enjoying some of the perks of her newfound fame, like being invited to Miley Cyrus’ album release party, hosted by Gucci, in March. Richardson documented some of the experience when she posted a video on her Instagram of Cyrus dancing with Paris Hilton during the festivities to the hotel heiress’s song, “Stars Are Blind.”

She did have a brief conversation with the “Flowers” hitmaker. “I had probably 10 seconds to say my spiel to her, and I wanted to tell her that “Plastic Hearts” — that whole album! — got me through…just a low time. So I told her that, and I think I might have shed a tear.”

A longtime Jonas Brothers fan, Richardson did not ask Cyrus about dating Nick Jonas. Richardson laughed, “Miley is more to me than her brief time with Nicholas.”

You can listen to the full interview with Richardson above or find “Just for Variety wherever you download your favorite podcasts.



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