Lily James has commented on the initial backlash she received for playing Pamela Anderson in Pam & Tommy.
The actor, currently starring as the Baywatch star in the Disney+ limited series alongside Sebastian Stan as Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, recently reflected on those who doubted she would be suited for the role.
“Me and Sebastian, we’d done a few weeks of filming so we had blinders [on] and were focusing on the job and the day to day and trying to inhabit our characters at that point,” James told Entertainment Weekly.
“We were both really, really dedicated and wanted to do our absolute best to represent Pamela and Tommy as best as we possibly could and trying not to get lost in that noise and the hype. However, it was sort of impossible not to because it was like nothing I’ve been a part of before where people were reacting in such a big way.”
Showrunner Robert Siegel added of James and her onscreen counterpart: “Pam has this strength and resilience and playfulness and sweetness and innocence and toughness. It just felt like a whole bunch of adjectives that you would use to describe Lily.”
He added that he was initially advised to cast “some trashy sex bomb”, but refused. “I’m like, ‘You’re completely missing the point. You’re completely getting Pam wrong the way the world has gotten Pam wrong for so many years,’” he said.
In a three-star review of Pam & Tommy, NME wrote: “Often the series finds itself tripping over its own moralising. In showing how Anderson’s body was exploited in Baywatch – with dedicated on-set runners arranging her bum cheeks to display the perfect amount of flesh to get past the censors – Pam & Tommy does the exact same thing, with regular appearances of Lily James’ naked body that border on the obsessive.”