The White Lotus Season 2 Originally Starred Evan Peters

There was a lot to love about "The White Lotus" season 2, but one of the strongest parts of the series by far was the stellar casting. From Jennifer Coolidge to Michael Imperioli, every actor knocked 'em dead. It's almost hard to imagine anyone else playing the characters we know and love, but sometimes a casting director is forced to make those tough choices. Even if they put together a bulletproof cast, it's always possible that someone will have to pull out of the project at the last moment.

That's exactly what happened to "The White Lotus" season 2, but the team was able to come together and recast the role so flawlessly that it's hard to say which actor was the replacement. Believe it or not, Ethan Spiller was originally supposed to be played by "American Horror Story" alumni Evan Peters.

Ethan is a newly successful tech bro going through a rut in his marriage to an overbearing wife (Aubrey Plaza) when the couple is invited to go on a Sicilian resort vacation with Ethan's competitive, adulterous college roommate (Theo James) and his eerily blissful wife (Meghann Fahy). Ethan was far from the most problematic character of the season, but his casting posed a big problem for the creative team.

"That part was the last part we cast in the season," executive producer David Bernad revealed to Deadline, "and originally it was supposed to be Evan Peters, but for whatever reason — scheduling or timing — it didn't work out."

Peters was set to play Ethan Spiller

Peters most recently appeared as the lead in the controversial "Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story," so it's possible that the Netflix series was the root of the scheduling conflict. Whatever his reasons, he left Bernad and the rest of the "White Lotus" team in need of a new Ethan Spiller, and they didn't want to go in an obvious direction.

"We were really trying to figure how to cast that part so it didn't feel like familiar casting," Bernad explained. "We were in Rome auditioning Italian actors, and I was jet lagged Googling at 4 a.m. and I came across Will Sharpe in 'Giri/Haji.' I'd never seen him before and he was just incredibly talented. I looked at his other work and realized he was kind of a chameleon."

In the gritty BBC crime drama, Sharpe plays an addict with an attitude — a very far cry from Ethan Spiller, the tightly wound millionaire who goes for morning runs and resort vacations. "Girl/Haji" also heavily integrates Japanese dialogue into the series, just as "The White Lotus" did with Italian. This international quality was another major goal of Bernad's for the HBO series.

"U.S audiences have been very closed off," the executive producer admitted, "but hopefully the success of 'The White Lotus' shooting in Italy and being half in Italian and others shows like 'Money Heist' that have worked around the world will make them more outwards looking."

Would Peters have played it better?

Sharpe may have pulled off a major chameleon act, but a last-minute recasting begs the question — was Ethan written with Peters in mind? And, more importantly, would the show have been better if Peters had joined the cast instead of Sharpe?

Series creator Mike White has been known to create characters with certain actors in mind. One such character was Harper, Ethan's wife, who White wrote specifically for Aubrey Plaza. "Without going into personal details, Mike knows me very, very well, on a way more intimate level than most people know me," the actress revealed to Entertainment Weekly, "and a lot of what he wrote was informed by just knowing me on that intimate level." 

Harper wasn't the only character tailored to a specific actress, as casting director Meredith Tucker informed The Hollywood Reporter. "He often has performers in mind when he writes characters, which is what happened with 'White Lotus,'" she explained. "He had written Jennifer Coolidge's and Molly's characters for them." 

Not every character was cast prior to auditions, though. "When that isn't the case, he's very open-minded," Tucker added. Even if Ethan was written to be played by Peters, Sharpe wasn't playing an identical character to the one that Peters would have played. "Once we're cast, he'll make revisions, writing the roles to the actors," White's casting director said.

Peters fans are probably punching the air right now, but the fact is that a guy that's so well-known for playing sinister characters would have given Ethan a totally different vibe. The audience would have seen his hidden dark side coming from a mile away, and it would have killed a lot of dramatic suspense. In the end, Peters' scheduling conflict was a blessing in disguise, and Sharpe totally killed his role in the murder mystery series.