With Hulu's Lily James (as Baywatch star Pamela Anderson) and Sebastian Stan (as Mötley Crüe band member Tommy Lee)-starring Pam & Tommy hitting streaming screens, viewers were treated to the official trailer for the limited series earlier this month. Along with extended scenes of James and Stan, we were also treated to long looks at Seth Rogen's Rand Gauthier, Nick Offerman's Uncle Miltie, Andrew Dice Clay's Butchie, and more. Now as the publicity machine begins to pick up, James is getting a chance to offer some deeper details on the series, her approach to the role, if she approached Anderson about being involved, and the important takeaways from the 90s scandal that still resonate to this day.
"This is the first interview I've done about this project, and I care a lot about it," James revealed to Net-a-Porter's Porter site in an extensive interview that offers an impressive deep-dive into the streaming limited series (premiering on February 2nd). Here are some of the highlights:
On Pamela Anderson Not Being Involved: "I was really hopeful that she would be involved. I wish it had been different. My sole intention was to take care of the story and to play Pamela authentically."
But James Did Reach Out to Anderson Independently?: "Yes. And I was very hopeful that we would be in touch right up until we started filming."
Tackling Anderson Was No Easy Effort for James: "I've never worked so hard. I read the books [Anderson] has written, I read her poetry, I can parrot along to all her interviews. And then, of course, there was the physical transformation. Slowly, our incredible team found a balance where I resembled Pamela but also felt like I could act through it.
Portraying Anderson Appears to Be a Game-Changer for James: "I've never done anything where I look very different from myself before. And I'd really like to continue in this vein because I felt there was something very freeing and liberating in it. There was a bravery that came from that. A courage that came from… disappearing."
James Wasn't a Fan of Returning to Reality: "I hated it [laughs]. It was like being stripped of all these superpowers! I'd really enjoyed the physicality and the sensuality, even down to the long fingernails. There was just so much character to hold on to – it was really thrilling."
Joining James and Stan are Seth Rogen as Rand Gauthier, the man who stole the tape; Nick Offerman as Uncle Miltie, the man who helped distribute the sex tape; Taylor Schilling as Erica Gauthier, Pepi Sonuga as Melanie, Andrew Dice Clay as Butchie, Spenser Granese as Steve Fasanella, Mozhan Marnò as Gail Chwatsky, and Fred Hechinger as Seth Warshavsky. Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, and Alex McAtee executive produce via Point Grey; as do Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle, and Ali Krug via Annapurna; Chip Vucelich, Sarah Gubbins, Dave Franco, and Dylan Sellers. The eight-episode series is helmed by Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) and written by Rob Siegel and DV DeVincentis, and tells the true story of how the first-ever viral video came to be: Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's sex tape, and the impact it would have on pop culture and the entertainment industry for years to come.
Though many will focus on the couple's infamous leaked sex tape and the national conversation it created over celebrity and privacy (as well as Tommy Lee's muti-tasking abilities when it comes to piloting a boat), the series will begin with Anderson and Lee's 96-hour "courtship" in 1995 that resulted in the two getting married. While there are still unanswered questions surrounding how the tape was obtained, Anderson would go on to sure video distribution company Internet Entertainment Group (IEG). The matter would be settled via a confidential agreement, with IEG returning to making the video available through its website. Though reports are that both Anderson and Lee are aware of Pam & Tommy being in development since earlier this year, neither are currently involved.