Lily James wanted Pamela Anderson’s guidance when filming the upcoming Hulu mini-series Pam & Tommy.
In a cover story for Net-a-Porter’s Porter that was published on Monday, James, 32, said she reached out to Anderson, 54, ahead of shooting the series in hopes of having her involved in the project. However, James says she didn’t get a response.
“I was really hopeful that she would be involved. I wish it had been different,” James told the outlet. “My sole intention was to take care of the story and to play Pamela authentically.”
“I was very hopeful that we would be in touch right up until we started filming,” she added, noting that Pam & Tommy is a series she “cares a lot about.”
James said during the interview that she had a lot of prep work to pull off her starring role.
“I’ve never worked so hard,” said James. “I read the books [Anderson] has written, I read her poetry, I can parrot along to all her interviews.”
She added that her physical transformation into Anderson was also something she described as both “freeing and liberating.”
“Slowly, our incredible team found a balance where I resembled Pamela but also felt like I could act through it,” the Cinderella actress shared, noting that she would be in makeup for about four hours starting at 3 a.m., putting on a chest plate, wig, and tan.
“I’ve never done anything where I look very different from myself before. And I’d really like to continue in this vein, because I felt there was something very freeing and liberating in it,” she continued. “There was a bravery that came from that. A courage that came from… disappearing.”
The Downton Abbey star even joked to the outlet that she “hated” returning to her normal, everyday self after shooting, as if she were being ” stripped of all these superpowers.”
In addition to James starring as Anderson, the series also features Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee, Seth Rogen as Rand Gauthier, and Nick Offerman as Uncle Miltie.
Pam & Tommy follows the love story of one of Hollywood’s most notorious couples — who tied the knot in a beach wedding just four days after meeting — as well as their infamous sex tape and the scandal that followed.
“Having lived through that time in our culture, it seemed like a good moment to reexamine what happened to Pam and Tommy in 1995 through a 2022 lens,” producer Sue Naegle explained to PEOPLE of why Anderson and Lee’s story remains relevant today.
Added Naegle: “There was so much happening with the birth of the internet and this tape really shaped celebrity culture and the invasive paparazzi we know today. The story has so many moving parts, it needed to be told in a series.”