Jennifer Coolidge has dozens of memorable roles on her resume, including playing Seann William Scott's mother in the classic 1999 comedy American Pie. There were plenty of professional benefits to taking the part, but The White Lotus star told Variety this week the part led to some surprising action in the bedroom. American Pie is just one of many movies that made Coolidge one of Hollywood's most beloved character actresses, alongside Legally Blonde, Best In Show, and A Cinderella Story.
"I got a lot of play of being a MILF and I got a lot of sexual action from American Pie," Coolidge told Variety. "There were so many benefits to doing that movie... I mean there would be, like, 200 people that I would have never slept with."
American Pie came at the beginning of the movie run that made Coolidge an indispensable piece of Hollywood comedies in the 2000s. She starred in Legally Blonde, American Pie 2, Zoolander, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, American Wedding, A Cinderella Story, Click, and American Dreamz in a six-year span. She also joined filmmaker Christopher Guest's stock company, appearing in his mockumentaries Best In Show, A Mighty Wind, For Your Consideration, and Mascots.
Coolidge's American Pie co-star Eugene Levy recommended her to Guest, whose films are mostly improvised. "She can really jump by leaps and bounds from take to take. There's not that many people that have the ability to do that," Levy told Variety. The White Lotus creator Mike White added that Coolidge comes up with "genius, bizarro stuff" on the set.
Coolidge stars as Tanya McQuoid on The White Lotus. She is one of the only actors White brought back for Season 2, alongside Jon Greis, who played Tonya's romantic interest Greg in Season 1. The new season is expected to debut on HBO in October.
The Promising Young Woman star almost didn't appear in Season 1, but she told Variety a "really smart, savvy, very blunt friend" convinced her to join. "I didn't like the way I looked," Coolidge said. "But did I change it for The White Lotus 2? No! I didn't change anything!"
White, who is friends with Coolidge, wrote Tanya to highlight things Coolidge could do that other directors haven't tapped into yet. The writers' belief in her helped convince Coolidge herself she could do it. "The saddest thing about life is that you just make decisions about yourself," she says. "If I'm not getting great roles, I come to the conclusion that people think I'm incapable of that. And then I make the decision that I am incapable of that. You actually have to have a Mike White that comes in and says, I think you can do this." The result was a performance that earned Coolidge her first Emmy nomination and, hopefully, her first win.