“I was really hopeful that she would be involved. I wish it had been different,” James, 32, told Net-a-Porter’s Porter on Monday, January 10, about not hearing back from Anderson, 54, before filming started. “My sole intention was to take care of the story and to play Pamela authentically.”
The Cinderella star noted that she tried to get in touch with the Baywatch alum “right up until we started filming” because of how much she cared about the limited series, adding, “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.”
The Downton Abbey alum also shared how she found the transformation into Anderson to be “freeing and liberating” despite how long it took.
“Slowly, our incredible team found a balance where I resembled Pamela but also felt like I could act through it,” James said, referring to the four hours of putting on a chest plate, wig and tan. “I’ve never done anything where I look very different from myself before. … There was a bravery that came from that. A courage that came from disappearing.”
In December 2020, it was announced that James was cast in the role of Anderson. The Mamma Mia! star joined Sebastian Stan, who played Tommy Lee, in the upcoming miniseries, which explores the former couple’s leaked sex tape.
Anderson and Lee, 59, were married from 1995 to 1998. Shortly after the pair tied the knot, a tape was stolen from their home and released that same year. The Canada native sued the video distribution company and the two parties later agreed to a confidential settlement.
“I know Sebastian, he’s playing me. From what he’s told me, it’s a really beautiful story,” the drummer, who shares sons Brandon, 25, and Dylan, 24, with Anderson, told Entertainment Tonight in September 2021. “I think a lot of people would think it’s [about] one thing, but it’s really about privacy and how things got crazy then, There’s different laws now.”
Anderson, for her part, has not yet publicly addressed the series. Meanwhile, her friend Courtney Love called out the project for focusing on a difficult part of Anderson’s life.
“When Pam / Tommy sex tape was out / myself @pattyschemel @xmadmx were making a record,” Love, 57, wrote on Facebook in May 2021. “And the lone women in many recording studios in LA. Where all / ALL! The staff engineers / producers / owners / were watching the sex tape with huge schadenfraude.. Guffaws, It was disgusting. I banned anyone discussing it.. It destroyed my friend Pamelas life. Utterly.”
She added: “My heart goes out to Pammy ♥️♥️ further causing her complex trauma. And shame on Lily James whoever the f— she is. #vile.”
Pam & Tommy starts streaming on Hulu Wednesday, February 2