Lily James, Sebastian Stan and Seth Rogen hit the red carpet this week to celebrate their limited series “Pam & Tommy.” A live finale event was held at Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre where members of the TV academy, journalists and other invited guests gathered to view the final episode outdoors. The screening was followed by a Q&A session in which James, Stan and Rogen joined crew members of the Hulu show to share behind-the-scenes stories about this explosive series billed as “the greatest love story ever sold.”
Based on the 2014 Rolling Stone article “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape” by Amanda Chicago Lewis, the Hulu series follows the turbulent marriage of actress Pamela Anderson (James) and Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee (Stan) after their honeymoon sex tape is stolen and eventually launched on the internet for millions to see. Rogen plays Rand Gauthier, a former porn star-turned-construction worker who is hired to make renovations in the newlyweds’ mansion. After an altercation with Lee, Gauthier seeks revenge by stealing a safe from the garage that (unbeknownst to him) contains the salacious tape. From there, a stranger-than-fiction story unfolds.
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“I was familiar with the tape,” Rogen confessed as audience members laughed. “I was 12 or 13. Honestly, the show is based on the Rolling Stone article. I remember reading the article and realizing that I knew nothing about this thing that I experienced as a very young man. As a young man I created my own fantastical narrative for how this thing came to be. After learning the real story it’s not at all what I had projected happened. In a way it was representative of a lot of things. My personal past where I failed to understand the true context of a thing I had absorbed culturally. It was interesting to explore the [true] story.”
Stan was born in Romania and then lived in Austria until he was 12. The Marvel actor had little familiarity with the story that dominated tabloids in the ’90s. “I just came to America in ’95 when i was 12,” he explained. “So I wasn’t around for the event itself. I remember hearing whispers about it. For me it was just how much I didn’t know about the story. Especially that they had nothing to do with it and the invasion of [their privacy].”
“We spent a long time watching them,” James revealed while discussing her physical transformation into the “Baywatch” beauty. “I think both of us wanted to work so hard and do them justice. I watched YouTube endlessly, I can mimic along to all their interviews. And hair and makeup were insanely talented. They blew us away! It was like, now it makes sense. Now I can do it. It gave me the confidence to go out there.” James added that spending four hours in the makeup chair each day actually relaxed her and helped her prepare.
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Rogen, who also serves as a producer of the series, wasn’t always sure he would star in it. “I never necessarily expect to impose my acting on anything,” he joked. “Playing Rand had been something we had talked about. We had been working on it for years before that really came into practice. I guess I was happy to play Rand. He’s not the best guy in the world, but it was an interesting challenge.”
“Just so you know I look exactly like him and it is a remarkable transformation!” Rogen joked to the crowd. His approach? “Honestly, I viewed him as someone who put no thought into his actions. I tried to stop myself from physically doing anything a person normally does when they’re portraying the fact that they’re thinking. I tried to portray someone who was not thinking very much. If there was a mantra in my head that I was repeating it was, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ He’s not a smart man.”
All eight episodes of “Pam & Tommy” are now available to stream on Hulu.
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