Movies and TV shows about real, living people always have a difficult needle to thread. Creators need to maintain their artistic integrity while remembering that their work can have consequences for people in the real world. Those stakes are even higher when the story being told is one about people having their privacy violated by the media.
That’s exactly what Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy” had to deal with when it told the story of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee having to watch their illegally distributed sex tape become a cultural phenomenon.
The show was represented at IndieWire’s Consider This FYC Brunch, with executive producer, writer, and co-showrunner D.V. DeVincentis and costumer designer Kameron Lennox joining IndieWire’s Awards Editor Marcus Jones for a wide-ranging discussion about the hit show.
Of course, attention had to turn to that infamous talking, animatronic penis. Why so verbose?
“I would love to take credit for that, but that’s in Tommy Lee’s book, ‘Tommyland,'” DeVincentis said. “He ascribes dialogue to his member, which is so very important for him. There was some internal debate about whether to make it and then keep it, but we did. There’s an aspect of it that’s interesting to me beyond just the shock value of it. Tommy Lee was one of the few people who was famous just for being famous. There are people who know him now who don’t know about his drumming but that he had a legendary phallus and had this swagger that helped initiate the reality TV era we live in now.”
But talking penises aside, DeVincentis and the “Pam & Tommy” team wanted to show that the titular characters were real people.
“It’s not easy to portray rich, famous people as victims, but they really were. It was hard for people to accept that they were victimized. To be the first people to have a leaked sex video, to ‘break the internet,’ people did not believe them that they had been ripped off, and as there had been subsequent ones which were deliberately leaked, made people believe them even less.”
“Pam & Tommy” was created by Robert Siegel and starred Lily James, Sebastian Stan, Seth Rogen, Nick Offerman, Taylor Schilling, and Pepi Sonuga.