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Sebastian Stan and Lily James went to great — and loud — lengths to play famed ’90s couple Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee in the upcoming Hulu miniseries Pam & Tommy.
Both actors stopped by Jimmy Kimmel Live! Monday to promote the series, which debuts today, about the real-life duo’s whirlwind marriage over four days in Cancun and the privately recorded honeymoon sex tape that was stolen by a disgruntled electrician and released online.
While there, Stan and James revealed a few tidbits about how they prepared to play the musician and actress, respectively. One of the efforts both actors made was getting Anderson and Lee’s voices right, with both James and Stan taking an interesting approach to nail their respective person’s vocals. And their tactics might have confused those working with them.
“We both would just on a repeat listen to their voices in their interviews and — I know we both did this — we would actually scream into pillows in between the scenes,” Stan explained. “I was trying to get my voice raspy to sound like him, and you were doing that too. So it was like you’re screaming into a pillow as well. I think everyone thought we were literally losing our minds in our trailers.”
James personally revealed that she had to bleach her eyebrows and used fake teeth to help her embody Anderson.
In an interview with USA Today, makeup department head David Williams revealed that James’ bleached brows were part of a larger four-hour daily effort to transform the Pam & Tommy star. A prosthetic forehead was created to conceal James’ natural brows and help create more space between her eyes and hairline. As for the teeth, both upper and lower dental pieces were made to re-create Anderson’s smile.
As for Stan, he said he shaved himself down to have the Mötley Crüe drummer’s famous tattoos “stuck on” his body. And in a move that not even James was aware of before their interview, Stan wore bare steel balls — a variation on a method taught to by his acting coach, Larry Moss. Kimmel teased the revelation by showing a video of Stan oddly shimmying his hips.
“My acting coach, the great Larry Moss, happened to have taught Helen Hunt for As Good as It Gets. He told Helen Hunt, you need to put nickles in your shoes, so you actually know, when you’re acting, what it’s like to stand up on your feet for 12 hours,'” Stan recalled. “I said, ‘Larry, I need something myself.’ So we came up with this idea, and for the duration of the shoot, I actually — Tommy was a big man — wore these bare steel balls.”
The actor admitted that he didn’t tell James because he thought she’d “freak out” but acknowledged it sounded slightly bizarre. “I know this sounds insane to you,” Stan said, laughing.
Beyond the physical transformation for the role, Stan said the duo were “both just terrified to play these characters” because “they’re real-life people.” He added that he felt for Anderson and Lee, who were in the “privacy of their own home” and just “acting like a married couple” when the tape was stolen and released publicly, calling the incident “an American crime story.”
“I texted Lily early on, and I said, ‘Listen like I’m scared shitless. I’m going to need to hold your hand if you want to hold mine. We’re here. We’re in this together,'” he recalled.
For James, going all-in on bringing Anderson and Lee to life was “thrilling.”
“To have something that we were so committed [to] and we went so in deep and wanted to take care of — Pamela and Tommy — and sort of play them as authentically as we possibly could,” James said. “To be that all-in on a project was really thrilling.”
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