Lily James and Sebastian Stan on becoming Pam & Tommy and seeing a new side of the story

Pam & Tommy stars Lily James and Sebastian Stan talk about transforming into Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. They also reflect on the stars' sex tape saga, and talk about how the situation might be viewed differently today.

Video transcript

- How many copies of this are out there? Could be dozens.

- Pirated copies are sprouting up all over the web.

- You don't seem to understand what a big deal this is.

- I'm on that tape just the same as you.

- But this is worse for me.

- How is this worse for you?

KEVIN POLOWY: Your transformations broke the internet when they were first released Lily, how did you react when you first looked in the mirror and saw yourself as Pamela?

LILY JAMES: Yeah, it was pretty, like, shocking. I mean, it was an amazing thing to be able to, on the outward, feel such a big transformation, because usually it's so internal, and so to sort of see evidence and to really feel like a different person was-- it's very freeing and a massive, massive relief because I was so nervous that I was just going to look absolutely nothing like her, obviously, so the makeup and hair team were just extraordinary.

KEVIN POLOWY: The transformations are obviously just insane in this movie. How did you react when you first saw Lily and Sebastian in character?

TAYLOR SCHILLING: I was shocked. The first time I saw their work was, like, little-- little snapshots in the hair and makeup trailer, and I thought that Lily was Pam. I didn't think it was a continuity photo. I thought it was a Pam inspiration photo, but it was a Lily continuity photo, and, I mean-- just blown away.

KEVIN POLOWY: Everybody wants to be a rock star, or at least party like one at some point in their life. Sebastian, was this wish fulfillment stuff, like, especially playing one like-- like Tommy Lee?

SEBASTIAN STAN: I don't know if wish fulfillment is what I-- what I would say. I'd worked with Craig before and I had a great experience with him, our director Craig Gillespie. Changed my life once, now he managed to do it twice.

And I'd always been a fan of hers-- and again, Seth Rogan, and, like-- and I loved "The Wrestler," which Rob Siegel wrote, so it just-- it was just such a great opportunity to work with these people that-- that I admired for a while, so-- but I guess it is a little bit of a wish fulfillment, right? Because in the sense, I got to do that and it felt really good and I was elevated, obviously, by the company that I was with

KEVIN POLOWY: There's obviously a lot of attention on how Pamela might respond, but this series feels like a redemption story for her. Do you see it that way, Lily? Like, how do you look at that aspect of the storytelling?

LILY JAMES: I think that when I read the scripts, I was really drawn in because it starts one way, and by the end, it's almost like a completely different show, and the sort of themes it's exploring, the sort of bigger story around what happened to them feels timely and an essential thing to look at, and I certainly think that it's-- looking at it through our lens now and seeing how she was treated and how women continue to be treated, and have been throughout history, it's-- it's important to look at that and look at our own culpability, and I hope that this show explores that and reframes what happened and makes us all sort of think.

TAYLOR SCHILLING: I wasn't aware that they were burglarized and that the-- the tape being out for public consumption was due to a very serious crime committed against these people. I had no idea. I somehow thought that, like, that tape was-- Pam had agency over it or it was a part of-- it was intentional. And-- it's a redemption story-- yeah, like an ode to her courage, her own to her bravery to continue on in the face of so much misogyny and such a huge-- being exploited in such a huge way that she kept going, it's-- really, it is a tale of redemption.

KEVIN POLOWY: There's a lot of physicality involved, so to speak, in telling this story, obviously. Have either of you ever worked, like, that intimately with another actor, and what kind of trust does that involve?

SEBASTIAN STAN: I had my lawyer call me up and say, "Congratulations, you are now the client that holds the most nudity waivers that we have." And I was like, I don't even know if that's something to be proud of. But I think you-- I think trust is the right word, right? I just think if you do not have the trust and the communication there, I just don't think any-- any scenes like that would be possible you know.

And fortunately, we did, and I thought, you know, we were-- we were very supported. And I think with Craig-- we'd go in there and we'd take everything that we were shooting and kind of, all of us, sort of, like, you know, go, OK, what do we feel good with, or what are we comfortable-- what are we saying? What-- do we need to do this shot? Do we have to have this, and if so, then what are we saying with it? You know, nothing felt sort of salacious or grabby for-- for any other reason, you know.

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