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‘Pam & Tommy’ star Lily James says she never heard back from Pamela Anderson

A blond woman poses against a bright yellow background.
Lily James poses at the premiere of “Yesterday” in London in 2019.
(Vianney Le Caer / Invision / Associated Press)

Lily James was hopeful that Pamela Anderson would be involved in Hulu’s new miniseries “Pam & Tommy,” but had no luck getting the former “Baywatch” star on board.

In her first interview about the eagerly awaited project, the “Downton Abbey” and “Cinderella” actor said she reached out to Anderson independently ahead of filming but didn’t hear back.

“I was really hopeful that she would be involved. I wish it had been different,” James recently told Net-a-Porter’s Porter magazine. “My sole intention was to take care of the story and to play Pamela authentically.”

Representatives for Anderson did not respond to The Times’ requests for comment.

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Lily James embodies “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson in Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy,” a series about her whirlwind romance and infamous sex tape with rocker Tommy Lee.

James, 32, had remained hopeful until they started filming the series, which follows the Playboy model’s whirlwind romance with Mötley Crüe rocker Tommy Lee (played by Sebastian Stan of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”).

The eight-episode limited series, which also stars Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman and Taylor Schilling, delves deep into the former couple’s personal lives and chronicles the fallout from their pilfered sex tape in the 1990s.

Directed by Craig Gillespie (“I, Tonya”) and billed by Hulu as “a love story, crime caper and cautionary tale rolled into one,” “Pam & Tommy,” according to the trailers, appears to make light of the scandal’s invasive nature, which rattles James’ Anderson in a teaser but comes off as a victory for Stan’s Lee.

A shirtless man reacts to a woman biting his piercing.
Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee and Lily James as Pamela Anderson in a promotional photo for Hulu’s limited series “Pam & Tommy.”
(Hulu )

While Lee has apparently given the project his blessing, Anderson has not directly commented on it publicly but is reportedly not a fan.

“When you re-create any character, you’re taking on another person’s life without necessarily having all the information, so I really have to put huge trust in the director,” James told Porter. “But 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.”

James embodies Anderson at the height of her “Baywatch” and Playboy fame amid a cultural flashpoint that forever changed the pop-culture landscape. Anderson and Lee’s bootlegged VHS was arguably the first celebrity sex tape to turn into a global phenomenon when it went online in the ’90s, and James believes it provoked “out of hand” internet and celebrity culture.

Even without Anderson’s help, the “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” star put in the work to re-create her for television: A four-hour hair and makeup process transformed the English star’s appearance — complete with a blond wig, bronze tan, chest plate and a prosthetic bodysuit. James said that she never worked so hard and found it “very freeing and liberating” to make herself disappear.

And she “hated” turning back into herself: “It was like being stripped of all these superpowers! I’d really enjoyed the physicality and the sensuality, even down to the long fingernails. There was just so much character to hold on to — it was really thrilling.”

“Pam & Tommy” begins streaming Feb. 2 on Hulu.


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