Lily James is sharing more details about how she prepared for her role as Pamela Anderson.
James teamed up with Tom Hiddleston for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series. The pair talked about some of their most recent projects, including the Hulu mini-series “Pam & Tommy” for the 33-year-old actress and Disney+’s “Loki” and Apple TV+’s “The Essex Serpent” for her fellow Brit.
Hiddleston praised James’ “extraordinary” performance as Anderson, noting that playing a real person is an “enormous responsibility.”
“It’s terrifying, isn’t it?” she responded. “I felt like if I came at it with heart, and a total desire to be honest, that was all I could do. I don’t know if I’d do it again anytime soon. I felt that desire to do her justice.”
Asked about the process of transforming into the “Baywatch” star, James shared that she watched numerous interviews of Anderson to learn how to speak like her and would sit on the makeup and hair chair for hours every day for the physical transformation.
“I just had pictures of Pamela everywhere. And then I had these prosthetic boobs and forehead. It took four hours every day,” she revealed. “And during that time, I had a montage of her interviews from the ’90s, and I would learn it like a song. The pitch and the rhythm. She speaks really, really fast. I stayed in her the whole time.”
Due to James’ focus on her character and the pace of the production, the cast and crew, including her co-star Sebastian Stan, never really got to know the actress herself during the filming of the series.
“[Stan and I] really didn’t get to know each other till we started doing press,” James admitted.
The eight-episode limited series “Pam & Tommy” followed Anderson and Tommy Lee’s whirlwind marriage in the ’90s, including the theft and leak of a sex tape that had been filmed during their honeymoon. In addition to James and Stan, it also featured Seth Rogen and Nick Offerman as Rand Gauthier and Uncle Miltie, who infamously leaked the couple’s sex tape.
During a previous interview with Entertainment Tonight, James called playing Anderson a “huge responsibility.”
“It’s always such a huge responsibility to play someone, a real person, particularly with Pam, she’s such an icon, I really love her, and I wanted to try and do her justice and try and capture her spirit and really explore what happened at that time and how she was treated and how things have changed, or not changed,” James told ET.
Back in February, an unnamed source close to Anderson discussed James’ portrayal of the Canadian actress in “Pam & Tommy,” telling Entertainment Weekly that James “did a great visual — and the voice is pretty uncanny.”
According to the insider, Anderson “never commented on Lily’s look and would never do so. This poor starlet has had to hear that Pamela thinks she’s trash — it just never happened. The headlines around that are just totally screwed up.”
However, the source said that Anderson will “never, never watch [the series]. Not even years from now. Not even the trailer.”