The casting of English rose Lily James as Baywatch star and Playboy model Pamela Anderson took many by surprise at first, as she neither looked nor sounded like the ’90s star. However, once the first-look images, trailers and Pam and Tommy itself came out, audiences have been astounded by James’ transformation.
James is mainly known for period films and TV shows in which she plays mainly upper-class Brits; including Downton Abbey, War & Peace, Darkest Hour, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Rebecca, The Dig and The Pursuit of Love. She also played Cinderella in the Disney live action remake and Lizzie Bennett in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Her only high-profile foray into playing an American character before now was in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver.
In preparing for the role of Anderson, James watched hours of footage, in an effort to get her voice and mannerisms right. Recently, at a red carpet event for the show, The Hollywood Reporter caught her slipping into an American accent, perhaps because she was submerged in it for so long.
Pam and Tommy is another ’90s true crime tale from I, Tonya’s Craig Gillespie, which reveals the not widely-known story behind the theft and distribution of the Tommy Lee/Pamela Anderson sex tape. Sebastian Stan plays Tommy Lee, and he also underwent a transformation that involved many, many tattoos. Seth Rogen plays Rand Gauthier, the man behind the theft.
Pamela Anderson did not approve the series, and has refused to watch it, despite the team who made it reaching out to her at various stages. She is apparently planning a Netflix documentary instead and has recently been cast as Roxie Hart in a Broadway production of Chicago.
You can see the clip of James changing from an American accent to an English one here;
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 9, 2022