In the two months since the season finale of “The White Lotus” aired on HBO, Jon Gries has been on the receiving end of a lot of angry pointing in public.
“You,” strangers have snarled at him in the street, Mr. Gries said, mimicking their outrage. And can you blame them? Viewers were left with the assumption — spoiler alert — that Greg had somehow helped orchestrate the attempted murder of his wife, Tanya, played with Peppa Pig-meets-Monica Vitti gravitas by the fan-favorite Jennifer Coolidge. (More on that plot point later.)
Yet his character’s unfavorable audience score didn’t stop Mr. Gries from making a very public appearance on Saturday night, cast as a model in Eckhaus Latta’s fall 2023 show.
Mr. Gries is not the first “White Lotus” star to answer fashion’s call. They’ve been seated in the front row at runway shows (Theo James and Will Sharpe, who played Cameron and Ethan, hit the Armani shows in Milan in January) and been cast in major fashion campaigns (Sydney Sweeney, one of Season 1’s surly teens, models for Miu Miu, among other brands). But Mr. Gries is the first to be seen on the runway during New York Fashion Week, which began on Friday.
The Eckhaus Latta designers were connected to Mr. Gries through his girlfriend, who is a friend of the label and who suggested they work together, said one of the brand’s founders, Zoe Latta. “We’re so touched he wanted to do it,” she said. “We were a little nervous that he would steal the show because he’s major.”
Inside the World of ‘The White Lotus’
The second season of “The White Lotus,” Mike White’s incisive satire of privilege set in a luxury resort, is available to stream on HBO.
- End of a Journey: The actress Jennifer Coolidge discussed the ending of the second season and where the series, already renewed for a third season, might go from here.
- Dressing Gen Z: The costume designer for “The White Lotus” sees your mean tweets about how the younger characters dress. She told us how she created the chaotic and divisive looks.
- Michael Imperioli: The “Sopranos” star is enjoying a professional renaissance after years of procedurals and indies. In the new season of “The White Lotus,” he tries his hand at comedy.
- F. Murray Abraham: The buzzy series is one of several featuring the actor, who at 83 is finding some of the most satisfying work of his career.
The New York Times chased down Mr. Gries backstage, where he was celebrating with his fellow models, to hear more about his debut on the runway — where he wore a yellowish, abstract knit sweater, off-white linen pants and leather patchwork boots — and the fate of Greg.
Why did you want to do this?
I liked their brand. They’re independent, and I’ve always had pretty much an independent film career. I’ve been somewhat rogue, so it spoke to me. And also, look at the clothes — they speak for themselves [gesturing to his boots]. They really are great. It’s something I’d never done and something I wanted to try.
What direction were you given before you hit the runway?
They said, “You’re walking down the streets of New York, and your mind is somewhere else.” And I said, “You mean like you’re listening to headphones?” And they said, “Exactly.”
So you’ve never done this before, but are you a fashion guy?
Not really, no. I’m aware of it, but I buy old clothes. I wear only corduroy pants. But many, many years ago, I did a thing in Los Angeles magazine where I wore Prada. I remember putting on the pants, and they were lined, and they were so cozy. It was like, Oh, this is what first class is.
How have you felt about the reaction to the show? You were in the second season for only a few episodes, but you played a major sinister role. [To recap: Tanya died when she tumbled from a yacht. She’d become convinced that her new “high-end gay” travel companions, including a British man named Quentin, were colluding with Greg to kill her. She ended up shooting most everyone on the boat, using a gun from a duffel bag that also contained rope and duct tape, brought on board by her drug-dealing one-night stand, whom she’d met through Quentin. It’s complicated.]
This is the beauty of Mike White [the show’s creator]. It’s also extremely subjective. This is what Tanya thinks. When Portia says to her, “Hey, something’s afloat.” Is it really?
OK: gun, rope, tape. Would they really need all that? All they’ve got to do is push her off the boat out in the ocean, and, “Oh, she fell overboard.” You know what I mean? Mike is so crafty, how he kind of leaves it open. Even when she’s doing the shooting, it’s from her perspective because we’re in her mind, and she thinks something’s up.
Wait, are you saying Greg’s innocent?
I’m not saying he’s innocent, but let’s just say, if this were in a court of law, would they really be able to prove intent? He wasn’t there, number one. Number two, yes, maybe he suggested Sicily, and yes, maybe Quentin is his friend. But the purpose might have been to get her in a compromising position with that other guy.
But I go along with the crowd. I do think that there’s something afoot.
Are you going to be in the next season?
That I don’t know, honestly. Mike White does what Mike White does. When he was writing Season 2, I got a text from him — that was how I found out. He said, Are you available? I said, Anytime, anywhere.
He could be going back in time, you never know. There’s still a way to get Tanya in.
This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.