Yes, That’s a Prosthetic Penis on “The White Lotus 2”
Image Source: Fabio Lovino/HBO
There’s plenty to unpack in the unfolding of “The White Lotus” season two: the tension between Harper and Cameron, the Di Grasso family misogyny, how the gays are (clearly but hopefully not) targeting a delicate Tanya. There are also penises galore.
Set in a sunny seaside resort by the same name in Sicily, it’s the perfect backdrop for baring all – and bare all, many men did. In episode one, Cameron (played by actor Theo James) strips down in front of Harper (Aubry Plaza), exposing a sneak peek to his “ginormous” nether region. Fans say they spotted a slight dick slip from Jack (Leo Woodall) in episode five. Later, at the end of episode six, Tanya (Jennifer Coolidge) finds herself face to face with a butt-naked Nicolo.
All of the full-frontal male nudity has left plenty of people wondering: are all these penises real, or the makings of some prosthetic magic?
According to James, at least when it comes to Cameron, it’s the latter. In a recent interview with Jimmy Fallon, he confirmed that he was indeed wearing a prosthetic penis for the naked scene – an aesthetic choice by director Mike White that he then discussed at length with the show’s key makeup artist Rebecca Hickey. “I said, ‘Honestly, I just want it not to be distracting.'” Then, “we get to set and she’s got, like, a hammer or something,” says James. “It’s bigger than that. It’s like she stole it off a donkey in the field. The thing is ginormous. It was nine inches flat and about four inches wide. We were like, ‘What the hell is that?'” (For what it’s worth, the average penis size clocks in at 5.16 inches.)
Optics aside, the decision to create a prosthetic part for nude scenes is hardly uncommon, or new. Jason Collins, a prosthetics and special effects makeup designer, has created the penises for shows “Pam & Tommy” and “Euphoria,” and previously told POPSUGAR that the process takes weeks of meticulous planning, hours of application, and sometimes dozens of silicone pieces.
“Nothing’s reusable because the edges are so delicate on these things, and that’s what gives them their seamless transition from the skin to the appliance,” Collins says. “When that edge is disrupted or disturbed is when the audience can tell that they’re wearing something. Once we remove those daily, we have to have a new piece for the next day.”
Similarly to creating a facial prosthetic, the process of creating a fake penis goes as such: cast, mold, and color down each silicone application. “They’re all cast in the exact same mold, same color,” he says. “Once we get the recipe down, the plasticity of the silicone appliances, we just keep casting them every day.” (It’s worth noting that, according to Allure, actors do not get their actual genitalia cast. While prosthetic teams will create a three-dimensional copy of the groin and leg area, this is done so the piece fits the person – not to reflect their real-life anatomy.)
Whether that’s what you signed up to see every Sunday, no matter. As Bert Di Grasso so eloquently put it: “I mean, it’s a penis – not a sunset.”