When the first image of Lily James and Sebastian Stan from Hulu’s Pam & Tommy, in which they played Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, went live, there were widespread gasps. The Downton Abbey and Cinderella alum and the sometime Winter Soldier really had magically transformed into one of the ‘90s signature couples. It clearly took a lot of work, and in a new piece from Vanity Fair, James and crew open up about how much it took to turn her into the star of Barb Wire.
For one thing, James spent four hours being made up to look exactly like Anderson. For another, she had some tools: “dentures, a vest-like contraption over her chest to shape her bust to Anderson’s iconically buxom image, contact lenses, three wig styles, and even a forehead prosthetic that covered James’s iconic brows.”
All that work wasn’t just for audiences. It was for James herself. “It’s just insane to look in a mirror and really not see yourself anymore,” James told VF. “It just meant that I felt so much braver. I had less of my own self-inflicted boundaries of what I am and how I perceived myself. And this was just like, all gloves are off. I could just be anything.”
James also talked about the chest prosthetic, which she described as like “wearing a small jumper,” and which gave her some protection during the sex scenes. “I mean, of course I’m naked,” she said. “Well, I would always wear a skin-colored thong cause I’m not interested in doing full frontal, but it just felt like I wasn’t vulnerable in that sense because it wasn’t my boobs.”
Alas, when James tried to contact Anderson herself, that proved less successful.
Pam & Tommy, which aired earlier this year, streams on Hulu.