‘Pam & Tommy’: Lily James defends “essential” sex scenes

The star says the scenes "had to be a part of the story"

Lily James has defended the “essential” sex scenes in the upcoming mini-series Pam & Tommy.

The Hulu series sees the star play Pamela Anderson and follows her marriage to former Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) and the unauthorised release of their sex tape, with James noting that the sex scenes “had to be part of the story”.

“We really felt that the sex scenes had to be a part of the story and had to be essential to the script and progressing their relationship and looking at what happened,” she told The Sun. “It was a really great constant conversation and nothing was set in stone.”

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The actress went on to reflect on the task of playing the former Baywatch star, saying: “She was one of the biggest stars on the planet and an icon.

Pam and Tommy
Lily James plays Pamela Anderson in the new Disney+ miniseries. CREDIT: Alamy

“I got a lot out of this. It was definitely the biggest acting challenge of my life. It felt alive and I really loved that.”

James previously revealed that she reached out to Anderson while preparing to portray her, though the star never replied.

“I was really hopeful that she would be involved. I wish it had been different,” she recalled. “My sole intention was to take care of the story and to play Pamela authentically. I was very hopeful that we would be in touch right up until we started filming.”

Lily James and Pamela Anderson
Lily James and Pamela Anderson CREDIT: Karwai Tang/WireImage/Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for amfAR

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James continued: “When you recreate 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. But I want to provoke a conversation, and I want to be part of these attempts at change.

“I realise 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.”

Pam & Tommy also stars the likes of Seth Rogen, Taylor Schilling and Nick Offerman, and will be released on February 2 on Hulu in the US and Disney+ in the UK.

In NME‘s three-star review of the series, we wrote: “There are many things to enjoy about such a glossily nostalgic and bleakly slapstick take on the scandal – from a permanently pouting Lily James’ uncanny resemblance to Playboy favourite Anderson to the showrunners’ obvious dislike of the bratty, impulsive and violent Lee, who would end up in jail for spousal abuse of Anderson.”

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