Sebastian Stan was on set and Lily James was in the middle of a massage when the Emmy nominations were announced earlier this month. Both became first time nominees, thanks to their work on the Hulu limited series “Pam & Tommy,” which was also nominated for outstanding limited or anthology series.
The Emmy nominated pair guest on the Awards Circuit podcast this week – in separate interviews – and discuss how they immersed themselves into the roles of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. James also reveals what it was like going back and watching “Baywatch” to prepare for the role and the stress of putting herself in Anderson’s shoes during some of the emotionally grueling scenes. Stan discusses moments he can relate to being in the eye of the public (right before his interview, he was escaping paparazzi) and delves into working with his acting coach Larry Moss, who helped him prepare for Tommy. Listen below!
First up, James discusses how watching Anderson’s early work was key to her “Pam & Tommy” portrayal – including the star’s breakthrough role in “Baywatch.” Asked how the show show holds up today, James says, “A lot of montages, a lot of rock ballads. A lot of Pamela looking fucking amazing. You know what, it really stands up. And I can see why it took the world by storm because it’s like these beautiful people on a beach, literally saving the world.”
While James found a lot to enjoy about playing Pam, she also admits that there were scenes that took a toll on her – and how your body doesn’t always know the difference when you’re acting.
“If you’re sat in a room with loads of men in those depositions scenes diminishing you and shaming you, your body takes that on,” she reveals.
Though “Pam & Tommy” is very sympathetic to Anderson thanks largely to James’ sensitive performance, Anderson has said publicly she doesn’t plan on watching the series. And James understands why. “It’s tricky,” she says. “It’s such a big conversation and something that I still think about on a daily basis.”
Next up, Stan talks about being followed by photographers prior to the interview and how he feels it’s only a sliver compared to what Pam and Tommy had to go through after their private sex tape was stolen and shared with the world. “I can understand, a little bit, the invasion of privacy aspect,” he says. “Obviously not on their scale and certainly not on the scale of a woman who’s also trying to be a mother and all the other things.”
He goes on to say that he knows how lucky he is to succeed in his profession. “Sometimes I go, you know Sebastian, suck it up. You’re lucky and you chose this profession, you got in this thing. And I return to gratitude.” He also discusses the highlights of being in the public eye – like seeing a kid become excited upon recognizing him.
Stan also talks about how he first came to work with Moss when trying out for “The Green Lantern.” While auditioning for Mike Nichols’ Broadway revival of “Death of a Salesman,” Moss spent a week with Stan, telling the actor to come to their meetings dressed as the character every day. Even though Stan didn’t get either part (Nichols felt he was more of a Biff than a Happy and Biff was already cast with Andrew Garfield), he found an invaluable resource in Moss — whom he continues to work with to this day.
Stan also discusses the infamous scene where Tommy talks to his penis – including the suggestion for one of his Marvel co-stars to voice it and how he didn’t know that it would eventually be actor Jason Mantzoukas. Stan now calls the choice “smart”: “He has the right kind of tone, he’s just trying to rein him back in from going down this cliff.”
Also on this episode, our Awards Circuit Roundtable discusses the lead actress categories for this year’s Emmy awards.
Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post weekly.