Lily James and co-star Sebastian Stan hit the headlines when imagery of the pair portraying their characters, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, in Pam and Tommy emerged last year – purely for their uncanny resemblance to the lovebirds.
While many hours were spent in hair and make-up for both actors ahead of filming, largely to capture the Mötley Crüe drummer’s details tattoos, they also studied their characters intensely to perfect every mannerism, accent and intonation.
Lily, 32, “binged hard” on Baywatch, as well as interviews, to study the 54-year-old actor’s “energy”, “spirit” and speech patterns.
Speaking to Variety about filming for the mini series, the Cinderella star said: “I binged hard. She talks really fast, and I would watch her interviews over and over again and annotate them, learn them and parrot along with her. I wanted to get that energy and that impulsiveness and that spirit that she has when she’s in front of the camera.”
Through her intensive research Lily came to admire Pamela’s qualities, especially how “brave” she is.
Lily continued: “Sometimes you admire qualities in people that you feel you’re lacking, or you want to be more like. And I’ve always felt there was this boldness to Pamela, this unashamed kind of authenticity. And even without knowing exactly what went on and the details of the [sex] tape, just who she kind of stands for, it feels so brave.”
Despite all her hard work, Lily almost pulled out of the upcoming release, as she felt overwhelmed and “frightened”.
She explained: “I really wanted to pull out of this a week before. [Lily thought] ‘I can’t do it. I can’t do it.’ It just felt too frightening.
“But I think that’s a good place to work from because it keeps you growing and getting better, I hope.”
Meanwhile, Sebastian – who is largely known for portraying Bucky Barnes in the Marvel franchise Captain America: The Winter Soldier – was practicing his percussion skills, and Tommy’s signature drumstick spin, which took its toll on his body.
The 39-year-old actor, who had to lose weight for the role, went on to detail his experience to get into character: “When you’re playing somebody who’s from real life, the story is there; you’re a journalist at that point. You’re really researching all you can and trying to understand as best as you can.”
Discussing the aftermath of the drumstick spin attempts, he said: “My fingers were swollen for a good week and a half. I kept hitting myself in the head with it.”
Pam & Tommy depicts the former couple’s passionate romance, and the leaked sex tape that tainted their relationship.
The series will hit Hulu on 2 February 2022 – and we can’t wait.