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Adam DiMarco on how his anxieties informed his nice-guy role in 'The White Lotus' S2

TORONTO — Oakville, Ont., native Adam DiMarco is experiencing the sort of breakout opportunity that would make anyone consider meditation.
Michael Imperioli, left to right, Adam DiMarco and F. Murray Abraham are shown in a scene from the second season of "White Lotus" in this undated handout photo. Oakville, Ont. native Adam DiMarco is experiencing the sort of breakout acting opportunity that would make anyone consider meditation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - HBO, Fabio Lovino

TORONTO — Oakville, Ont., native Adam DiMarco is experiencing the sort of breakout opportunity that would make anyone consider meditation.

“How am I handling it? I’ve been like, pretty anxious,” says DiMarco, who on a virtual call, asks his manager to corroboratehow nervous he truly is. “She doesn’t want to talk. She’s blushing.”

The 32-year-old Canadian actor is part of the ensemble cast in Mike White’s second season of HBO's “The White Lotus” — a more Italian-flavoured whodunit edition of its predecessor, where class anxieties meet sexual squabbles in the picturesque hilltop Sicilian town of Taormina.

DiMarco plays Albie Di Grasso, a tender university graduate who seeks to be less chauvinistic than the other men in his family.

His wealthy, philandering father is played by Michael Imperioli of "The Sopranos," while Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham portrays his aging and uncompromising grandfather. The trio are on a trip to reconnect with their Italian roots, but they are routinely distracted by the women they meet in the White Lotus hotel.

“When I got the breakdown of the character, it was really in my wheelhouse. I just related so much to the character on so many levels,” says DiMarco. “He’s half Italian, I’m half Italian, even our names are weirdly similar.”

It was a relatability DiMarco says that helped him become the role.

“My way of dealing with a role like this was to channel my anxiety into the character because he’s not the coolest guy,” adds DiMarco. “I found a way to deal with it and accept it as a part of the experience because I subconsciously do that sometimes.”

DiMarco recalls early forms of that anxiety during a moment when acting roles prior felt hard to come by.

“I remember that I actually called my manager a week before I got the audition and I was feeling pretty down,” says DiMarco. “She had to tell me to just hold on.”

It’s been a journey characterized by patience and impatience for DiMarco since his start. As a previous life sciences student at Hamilton's McMaster University, the young actor gravitated toward entertainment as a form of escape. In an effort to evade the boredom he was feeling, he left school, attended acting classes, and pursued performance professionally.

Since then, he’s taken an array of film and TV roles including the teen TV movie "Radio Rebel" (2012) and Disney Channel's “Zapped" (2014.) More recently, his credits include the Crave original series "Pillow Talk," Netflix's "The Order" and SyFy's "The Magicians."

Still, the idea of starring in “The White Lotus” — which received critical acclaim for its first season and scored five Emmys earlier this year — still terrifies him.

“I’m just kind of scared of everything, even right now,” says DiMarco. “It’s just gonna have the biggest audience out of anything I’ve done.”

It helped to have veteran actors including Imperioli, Abraham, and Jennifer Coolidge, who reprises her role from season 1, on set to look up to.

“In the first week, Murray had all seven scripts memorized,” says DiMarcoamusingly.

“It was very cool to see. Jennifer Coolidge, Michael and Murray are such different actors with such different approaches and it goes to show me you can be yourself and figure out what works.”

And while he typically turns to exercise, eating well and therapy to manage his anxiety, he also is considering meditation again.

"That's my next domino to fall. I know Michael Imperioli has a lot of meditation material and he does a meditation class, so maybe I'll join one time.”

To that end, DiMarco says he’s taking in an experience that was deeply gratifying to him despite the nerves.

“Anxiety and excitement are two sides of the same coin, so I’ve been trying to focus more on the excitement. I hope everybody enjoys the ride.”

"The White Lotus" streams on Crave in Canada with new episodes premiering Sundays.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 7, 2022.

Noel Ransome, The Canadian Press