Rob Siegel interview: ‘Pam and Tommy’ showrunner
“It’s about the birth of the internet. It deals with issues of privacy and consent … If you accept the premise that, say, Kim Kardashian and Jeff Bezos are the two defining figures of our moment — which you probably could make a case — that all kind of can be traced back to this tape,” says “Pam and Tommy” creator and showrunner Rob Siegel about dramatizing the marriage of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee and the invasion of privacy that helped usher in a new era of media, technology and fame. We talked to Siegel as part of our “Meet the Experts” TV showrunners panel. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
Anderson and Lee (played in the series by Lily James and Sebastian Stan) had a whirlwind marriage in the 1990s, but the public got an unauthorized peek into their love life when a disgruntled carpenter (played by Seth Rogen) stole a safe containing a private sex tape and started selling it to the public via online orders. It was the wild-west early days of the internet, so the sex tape scandal, Siegel explains, “was a lens through which you can tell just a much, much bigger story.”
But it wasn’t a story Siegel knew well prior to making “Pam and Tommy.” “If you had asked me two days before I signed on to this project I would have probably assumed, like most people, that they were in on the theft, which of course they weren’t. And that’s a big part of our show, that we are very clear that this was a violation and a crime.”
But Siegel and the rest of the “Pam and Tommy” cast and crew didn’t want the series to be a continuation of that violation. “We had those conversations constantly every day,” He remembers. “We didn’t know if [Anderson] would see the show or not. And I think she hasn’t watched the show, but we always came at it from a place of admiration and wanting to do right by her.”