The British actor portrayed the Baywatch star in Pam & Tommy, a series which focused on the infamous leaking of Anderson and Tommy Lee’s (Sebastian Stan) sex tape.
James earned an Emmy nomination for her performance as Anderson, but has now spoken in a new interview about the lengths she went to embody the model.
“It was such a screwed-up process,” she told The Mirror. “You just have to be patient with yourself. The hours are so long and you feel really burnt out. Your nervous system is just like, shot to s***. I felt like a real wreck at the end of it.”
James admitted that she would wear Anderson’s blonde wig throughout filming “because I just felt that I needed to hold on to her a little bit”.
She explained: “The difference from me to her was too extreme to go back and forth, so I had to stay in this middle no man’s land of Lily/Pamela most of the time. I would totally slip into her voice.
“Even when I went out for dinner and was ordering with the waitress or talking to my mom on the phone, I would be American. I think I’ve lost lots of jobs because I keep speaking like Pamela in any audition.”
Method acting is a process rooted in 20th century Stanislavskian practices in which actors attempt to put themselves through the life experiences of their character.
Actors engaging in the practice often go to extreme lengths to immerse themselves in the role even when the cameras stop rolling, living as the characters in real life.
While actors such as Jared Leto and Jeremy Strong are known for Method acting, many have argued that the idea is outdated and can have a negative impact on the surrounding cast and crew members.
In a recent interview with The Independent, actor Will Poulter said that performers’ processes shouldn’t “infringe on other people’s”, adding that they should always be “considerate”.
“If your process creates an inhospitable environment, then to me you’ve lost sight of what’s important,” he said. “Method acting shouldn’t be used as an excuse for inappropriate behaviour – and it definitely has.”
Pam & Tommy is on Disney+ now.