Lily James, by any stretch, is an unexpected choice to play Pamela Anderson in Pam & Tommy.
But there she is all bouncy prosthetic boobs in the curious Disney+ offering about an infamous sex tape of two global superstars of the 90s.
Pam & Tommy, the unofficial eight-part series based on a Rolling Stone article about the infamous stolen sex tape featuring Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, is an odd kettle of fish.
For the life of me, I can’t work out why Lily James – a British actress already known Stateside with a credible career – decided she really wanted this gig.
What’s wrong with Pam & Tommy?
For one, its delivery!
The first episode takes its lazy-assed time to focus on Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen), the building contractor, who, after tiring of his client Tommy Lee’s rock star diva antics, steals his safe that contains – unbeknownst to him at the time – the now-infamous sex tape.
It’s slow and a little laborious to get through, but it sets the scene – Rand is raging and has a serious motive to sell the tape.
Then episode two focuses on when Pam first meets Tommy and goes on to showcase their acrobatic sexual encounters and introduces us to Tommy Lee’s talking tackle, which kind of serves as his conscience.
While it is more satisfying to watch these recognisable faces (the hair and make up team have done wonders at transforming Lily James and Sebastian Stan into their famous characters), the talking penis scene is – not to mince words – dog shit crazy.
If the show was being played for laughs, fair enough.
But as it starts out with a serious ‘crime drama’ tone, the yapping tallywhacker seems very odd indeed, as well as, I might add, breathtakingly large!
What WAS was Lily James thinking?
While this show is unashamedly camp like notorious cult classic Showgirls, what is nagging me most about this show is Lily James!
What the hell was she thinking when she signed up to this oddball trashfest?
The show is what it is – mad, bad, insane and unsavoury – the total opposite of what we’ve come to expect from the classy Ms James.
To those of us who love her, we’re much more used to seeing her in lovely charming films and TV shows such as Downton Abbey, Pursuit Of Love, Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, Rebecca, Cinderella, Yesterday, The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Society and many more.
But in this insanity, the gloves, the top and the bottoms are off, as she throws herself into the part of Pam, even donning a pair of humungous prosthetic breasts to jiggle during the various sex scenes that punctuate the drama.
In some eyes, Lily’s just not the kind of actress to do a salacious drama like this – one, it should be noted, that doesn’t have the support of the stars it’s depicting.
While the makers of the series have said their intention of the drama is to highlight how poor Pam and Tommy had their private lives cruelly exposed to the world, it’s still explicit, silly and downright trashy.
Certainly not the kind of thing you’d expect Lady RoseMacClare to be frolicking around in.
Lily James’ defence of those sex scenes
However, Lily James is standing by Pam & Tommy and has said that making the series was the toughest acting challenge of her life.
But could it one day prove to be the most regretful?
In the promo chats she’s recently done, she’s defended the various saucy romps in the series, claiming: “We really felt that the sex scenes had to be a part of the story and had to be essential to the script and progressing their relationship and looking at what happened.
“It was a really great constant conversation and nothing was set in stone.”
“Shame on Lily James”
She added that taking on this role of this global superstar really inspired her.
“Pamela was one of the biggest stars on the planet and an icon,” she told The Sun.
“I got a lot out of this. It was definitely the biggest acting challenge of my life. It felt alive and I really loved that.”
However, not everyone agreed.
Courtney Love, a close friend of Pamela Anderson, was furious about the unofficial series and ranted in a now deleted post that the tape had “destroyed my friend Pamela’s life,” and argued that the show was “further causing her complex trauma”.
She added: “And shame on Lily James – whoever the f— she is.”
Lily, who had been expecting Pamela to endorse the show (the production company reached out to the Baywatch star but had no response), was hurt by the reactions, telling the LA Times: “I’m really sensitive to it. I just know that my intentions – our intentions – were good.
“I would never have come on board if I didn’t think it was a worthy story to look at in order to provoke a conversation about how we treat women.”
And when she discovered there was no blessing from Pam she was ‘incredibly disappointed’ but had already committed to the series.
She then committed to channelling her feelings into a heightened sense of “responsibility to do absolutely everything I could to try and do her justice”.
Credit where due
To give Lily her due, she IS sensational in the role of Pam.
Make-up and wigs aside, her take on Pamela is sublime and there are times you’re watching when you actually forget that it isn’t really Pamela Anderson on screen.
But for me it’s so jarring to see such a wonderful actress like Lily playing such an outrageous role in what is little more than just an unofficial trashy, albeit delicious, TV series with oodles of sex.
It’s the kind of role that a young novice would take on to get her big break before moving on to more high brow – if she’s lucky.
With mixed reviews to the series as a whole, it will be interesting how Lily feels about the series in a few years time or if her career trajectory will change because of it.
The series is definitely one to watch if you fancy some chewing gum for the brain – it’s brash, in-yer-face madness!
But after ploughing through the eps, stretching out a short-lived moment in time based on a Rolling Stone article with Rand Gauthier, you wonder why this wasn’t just an easy to digest two hour one-off film – that Lily James left well alone.
Have you seen Lily James in Pam & Tommy? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know!
Pam & Tommy continues every Wednesday on Disney+