How Murray Bartlett's Role in 'The White Lotus' Sparked a Renaissance for the Aussie Actor's Career

CEO Tam DT
It's not every day that an actor with 35 years of experience suddenly achieves household-name fame. But that's exactly what happened to Murray Bartlett. The Australian actor, who began his career in 1987, found himself...

It's not every day that an actor with 35 years of experience suddenly achieves household-name fame. But that's exactly what happened to Murray Bartlett. The Australian actor, who began his career in 1987, found himself catapulted into the spotlight with his portrayal of fussy hotelier Armond in the hit series 'The White Lotus'. This newfound fame has brought Bartlett Halloween costumes and even requests for selfies on the street.

Bartlett never expected this career renaissance, especially in the midst of a global lockdown. Landing the role was a unique experience, as he attributes it to the strange circumstances of the pandemic. After submitting a self-tape audition, he was invited by Mike White, the show's creator, writer, and director, to shoot the series in Hawaii. Bartlett took a leap of faith, recognizing the talent of White. As he read the scripts during the flight, Bartlett discovered the full arc of his character, Armond. He found the challenge of portraying Armond's complex journey "daunting, in a great way". From eyebrow-raising sex scenes to the infamous incident of defecating in a guest's suitcase, Armond's character pushed the boundaries of Bartlett's acting abilities.

The White Lotus From left, Murray Bartlett, Steve Zahn and Connie Britton in The White Lotus. Mario Perez/HBO

Throughout the series, Armond faces a nightmare week of dealing with demanding and dysfunctional guests at The White Lotus resort. Connie Britton's horrific momfluencer, Jake Lacy's entitled honeymooner, Sydney Sweeney and Brittany O'Grady's drug-fueled teens, and Jennifer Coolidge's truly deranged character, Tanya, all contribute to Armond's gradual breakdown. After five years of abstinence, Armond falls off the wagon in spectacular style. It's a role that Bartlett describes as brilliantly written, with the character's public face contrasting with his internal struggle to stay sober.

The pandemic also presented a unique opportunity for the show's production. Filming took place at the Four Seasons Resort in Maui, which was closed at the time. Bartlett describes the experience as being whisked away from their Covid pods to an incredible beachfront TV camp. However, halfway through production, as the hotel partially reopened, the shooting schedule had to be adjusted. This posed challenges for Bartlett in tracking Armond's drug journey and its impact on his behavior. Nevertheless, having Mike White as the creator-writer-director by his side provided invaluable guidance.

Together, Bartlett and White managed to maintain consistency in Armond's timeline while emphasizing his relatability even during his downward spiral. Bartlett wanted to lean into Armond's larger-than-life character while ensuring he remained human and vulnerable, rather than a caricature.

Physical From left, Bartlett with Rose Byrne in Physical on Apple TV+ Apple TV+

The balance of comedy and tragedy is something Bartlett deeply appreciates about acting. From a young age, he was captivated by the craft, which was sparked by speech therapy he received after an accident. Acting became an outlet for his imagination, and he fell in love with it. Bartlett's journey led him to gain experience in the Australian television industry, with his breakthrough role in the popular series 'Sex and the City'. This was the beginning of a successful career that ultimately brought him to 'The White Lotus'.

Since his role in 'The White Lotus', Bartlett has been receiving exciting offers. He recently appeared in the second season of the Apple TV+ show 'Physical' alongside Rose Byrne. In this series, Bartlett's character, Vinnie Green, mirrors the complexity hidden beneath a public facade, just like Armond in 'The White Lotus'. Bartlett's ability to portray characters with layers and internal conflicts continues to impress audiences.

Bartlett has also been involved in the highly-anticipated HBO Max series 'The Last of Us', a video game adaptation set to premiere next year. Although not a gamer himself, Bartlett recognized the significance of the story and the strong connection people have to the game. He praised the adaptation for its ability to convey the poignant character relationships within an expansive world.

Currently, Bartlett is on the set of the Hulu limited series 'Immigrant'. Starring alongside Kumail Nanjiani, Andrew Rannells, Dan Stevens, and Juliette Lewis, Bartlett plays Nick De Noia, a choreographer from New York involved in the origin story of the Chippendales stripper troupe. The series explores the balance between the fun world of male burlesque dancers and the darker, more intense aspects of their lives.

Murray Bartlett's journey as an actor has been filled with challenges and breakthroughs. With his incredible talent, dedication, and the success of 'The White Lotus' propelling his career to new heights, it's clear that he is an artist to watch.

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