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Lily James Almost Quit ‘Pam & Tommy’ Right Before Production: ‘It Just Felt Too Frightening’

James said that taking on Pamela Anderson was a daunting task — and one she almost dropped out of.

"Pam & Tommy"

“Pam & Tommy”


It’s not easy to become a bombshell overnight.

So learned Lily James when prepping to play Pamela Anderson in Hulu’s highly anticipated series, “Pam & Tommy,” premiering February 2.

“I really wanted to pull out of this a week before,” James explained to Variety, recalling a sinking feeling of “I can’t do it. I can’t do it,” before production.

“It just felt too frightening,” James added. “But I think that’s a good place to work from because it keeps you growing and getting better, I hope.”

From binging “Baywatch” to memorizing Anderson’s mannerisms — plus undergoing a jaw-dropping physical transformation — James became Anderson.

“I sometimes will see a picture of Lily in character, and it takes a second to just double-check in my mind that it’s not the real Pam,” co-showrunner and screenwriter Robert Siegel explained. “Pam’s smart, shrewd, kind of wholesome; she grew up in small-town Canada. She has a real sweetness to her, and almost an innocence that we wanted to come across. In the first reactions to casting Lily, people on Twitter were like, ‘Why didn’t they cast Megan Fox?’ I was like, no, they’re not getting it.”

As for James’ harnessing the power of Anderson’s icon status, the “Downton Abbey” alum revealed that she was fascinated by the “impulsiveness” of Anderson on-screen.

“She talks really fast, and I would watch her interviews over and over again and annotate them, learn them and parrot along with her,” James said. “I wanted to get that energy and that impulsiveness and that spirit that she has when she’s in front of the camera.”

James continued, “Sometimes you admire qualities in people that you feel you’re lacking, or you want to be more like. And I’ve always felt there was this boldness to Pamela, this unashamed kind of authenticity. And even without knowing exactly what went on and the details of the tape, just who she kind of stands for, it feels so brave.”

Pam and Tommy” captures the rollercoaster romance between Anderson (James) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan) in the wake of their leaked adult video. The couple married one another in 1995 after knowing each other for 96 hours, and the rest is rock ‘n roll history.

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