Lily James Wants to "Provoke Conversation" and Enact Change in Her Role as Pamela Anderson
Lily James is getting ready to grace our screens as Pamela Anderson for Hulu's forthcoming Pam & Tommy series. The show — which also stars Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee — is a blast from the past as it follows the former couple's love story in the '90s, which includes the theft and leaking of their sex tape. Ahead of the Feb. 2 premiere, the 32-year-old actor spoke to Porter magazine about what it was like to step into Anderson's shoes and tell her story. "I just had no idea if I could do it," James said about the role. Keep reading to see what else she had to say, and check out the full cover story here.
- On prepping for Pam & Tommy: "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."
- On finding similarities in her and Anderson's stories: "I love that about acting; you fit into a character, and you realize you're not as different as you might have thought. You lean in to things in yourself and discard parts of you that aren't useful. We were exploring a particular moment in Pamela and Tommy's life in the '90s, this absolute lust for love. This open-hearted, falling into something . . . It was exciting, thinking about what it meant to be a young woman at the height of her fame."
- On the shaming Anderson dealt with, and how that hasn't changed today: "It [the show] felt like a challenge. And kind of essential. The shaming was so extreme. Unfortunately, that's still the case, don't you think? Women are held to much higher standards and attacked in ways that feel so vicious. Pamela had such wit and grace in the way that she held herself. I admire that strength."
- On what James hopes to achieve through her portrayal of Anderson: "I want to provoke a conversation, and I want to be part of these attempts at change. I realize a lot of it's incredibly sensitive and difficult. And so, as an actor, to a certain extent, what you do is make yourself very open to talk to all of that."
- On the misogyny Anderson faced in the '90s: "When you look back at some of her interviews from the 1990s, the misogyny is so striking. I mean, it's changed so much, but . . . I think it's more hidden now, perhaps? Anyway, there was a lot in it that I found I could relate to."
- On her physical transformation as Anderson: "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."