Leo Woodall Goes From ‘White Lotus’ Scene Stealer to Lead in ‘One Day’

When Leo Woodall thinks about the past year of his life, the word that comes to mind is — of course — “busy.” He broke out with a star-making turn in season two of The White Lotus (as the enigmatic and slightly sinister love interest of Haley Lu Richardson’s character), and that brought magazine covers, red carpets and an onslaught of online attention. He then went straight into production as the lead in Netflix’s adaptation of One Day, which will debut Feb. 8.

But, like many rising stars, he also has discovered the double-edged sword of industry success. “I’ve been so fortunate to work a bunch, but you end up quite disconnected from other aspects of your life. I wasn’t really expecting that, and there are things I need to figure out,” says Woodall, 27, adding that he’s getting better at staying in touch with friends and family during heavy work periods. He’s conducting this Zoom from his mother’s house on the eve of his sister’s birthday.

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One Day — a rom-com series that follows friends Dexter (Woodall) and Emma (Ambika Mod) over 20 years — shot mostly in his native London, but it required a long citywide commute and 12-hour days for seven months. “It started to feel like my whole life was not getting enough sleep and eating brownies for lunch,” he says with a laugh. Here he tells THR about how he’s navigating the whirlwind changes.

What did it feel like for your second major role to be a lead?

I struggled at the beginning of One Day — I was struck by how much pressure I felt being a lead. I didn’t know if I should behave like the captain of a sports team. And I struggled with not having any kind of moment to myself, like you can’t tie your own shoelace or spit your own gum out.

What did you do at the end of the day to recharge?

Had a gin and tonic and went to bed. (Laughs.)

In the show, the two main characters bond by talking about what they want to be when they’re 40 — do you ever think about that?

Am I allowed to say “rich and famous” [like Dexter says]? No, I’m kidding. I used to want to be a stuntman, and then that dream kind of faded. And then I wanted to be a PE teacher, so who knows, maybe one of those dreams will come back. Maybe I’ll quit all this and go be a PE teacher.

Woodall and Ambika Mod in a scene from Netflix’s romantic comedy series One Day.
Woodall and Ambika Mod in a scene from Netflix’s romantic comedy series One Day.

Do you feel famous?

I feel like some people recognize me, but no. There was one day when I noticed I was being followed by a paparazzi photographer and I thought, “I don’t know how people deal with this on a daily basis.” I want to be as successful as I can be as an actor, but I don’t think it would be that fun to be categorically famous.

Your life has changed so much in the past few years, but where is the area in which you feel it most?

It’s more of an inward thing. I’ve grown to be more content with myself. And I’ve got a bit more money now, thankfully.

Leo Woodall
Leo Woodall

This story first appeared in the Jan. 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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