When hairstylist Barry Lee Moe took on the job of turning Sebastian Stan into Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, he thought a wig would help embody the 1990s rocker’s look. But for Hulu’s limited series “Pam & Tommy,” which premieres Feb. 2 on Hulu, Stan wanted the freedom to touch his hair and feel it. “He wanted it to feel lived in,” explains Moe.
Since these conversations were occurring months before filming, Moe asked Stan to grow out his hair so they could move forward without a wig and get the perfect cut and color. He took Stan to Harper Salon on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles to get his hair treated with a Brazilian straightening process. “We did that to eliminate his texture because his was different from Tommy’s,” says Moe.
Hairstylist Erica Adams went through numerous colors to find the right blue-black look. Says Moe, “We didn’t want it to read as flat black hair on camera because Tommy’s hair always had light and shine in it. So we were conservative in the color process until we got to the shade we needed.” Once the color was right, Stan was given the haircut that embodied Lee’s 1990s rock ’n’ roll style, which was shorter and less extreme than his huge poufy hair of the 1980s. “The other balance we had to consider was product,” adds Moe. “We had to make it look like he hadn’t shampooed it in several days, and at the same time not make it product-heavy so he could run his fingers through it.”
In transforming Lily James into model and actor Pamela Anderson Lee, the team took on something of a narrative role. Moe studied photos and videos and noted Anderson Lee’s hair tells a story over the period that covers their marriage, relationship and eventual divorce. “Her hair reflected the mood that she was in at that moment in time. When she was freshly in love, the hair was wild and carefree,” Moe says. By the time she is in divorce proceedings, her hair was conservative, with less texture, and she had bangs.
Moe selected wigs made at Wigmaker Associates to help show Pamela’s character arc. Explaining his decision, he says that making changes to James’ natural hair wouldn’t have been best in terms of its health and longevity. “We also didn’t have time to do frequent color touchups, because every moment was utilized,” he adds.
Moe recreated some of Anderson Lee’s famous looks, including ones from the 1996 film “Barb Wire,” her Playboy magazine shoot and her role in “Baywatch,” for which there were plenty of photos available for research.
“I’d see images of her in a hot roller set,” he says. “Other times, she would be in Velcro rollers from the ’90s, so I recreated that to get the volume and body.” To get the beachy look, Moe refined the wig texture by using a flat iron. For those “Baywatch” sequences, he would let the wig surrender to the salty, windy ocean air. “It helped us achieve the perfect look,” Moe says.
In real life, Anderson Lee admitted hair was very much a part of her personality. Moe notes how she used it as armor. “I feel like it protected her in those [public] moments because she could hide behind it. It was important to me that there was that feeling of protection in the hair,” he says.
Like Stan, James wanted to touch her hair and toss it, much as the real Anderson Lee did. “In every interview, you watch Pam from back in the day and even today, she flips her hair constantly,” Moe says. “She’s always touching it. Whether it’s a security blanket or not, it’s part of who she is. It’s an expression. It’s a movement and it’s part of the conversation that makes her feel comfortable.”