On Tuesday morning, Lily James received her first ever Emmy nomination, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series as Pamela Anderson in Hulu’s Pam & Tommy. The show received ten total nominations, including for Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee (also his first nom), and for make-up and hair styling.
Pam & Tommy, executive produced by supporting actor Seth Rogen (also nominated), depicts the true story of the theft and unauthorized release of Anderson and then-husband Lee’s sex tape—a first during the ’90s, when the internet was still dinosaur dial-up and TV streaming was but a distant dream.
Speaking to Deadline following the nominations announcement, James said reworking the public’s old, negatively-skewed perception of Anderson had meant an enormous amount to her personally.
Hulu Earns Record 58 Emmy Nominations, Including 17 For 'Only Murders In the Building'
Has she heard anything from Anderson herself? “No I haven’t,” James said, “and that’s fair enough and I have to respect that boundary. But all we wanted to do was shine a light on this story and reveal it. It’s the ugly truth really of how awful what happened to them was, and every second of it, we were on Pamela’s side… I hope that’s been received but beyond that I could never know how she’s feeling, but those were our intentions.”
James said in a post #meToo era, this show hopefully forms part of a movement to hold people accountable.
“I think everyone is more open and prepared to hear these stories and look at it and their own own culpability, which is the biggest thing for me, we’re looking at things we’ve been taught as young girls, things we’re been shown. We’ve put up with behavior for so long and it’s been very, very toxic… so to be part of a show that explored that and kept that momentum going hopefully is just so important to me.”
“This was a continued exploration of that, of what I’ve experienced in my work and in the media, and so I think a lot of this was born out of rage and an attempt to examine this. We’re not looking for answers, we weren’t doing a documentary, but we were just trying to get a different perspective on what happened at a very crucial moment in popular culture.”
Of the multiple nominations, James said, “I’m so proud because we were really in it together and felt so joined in our ambition to really try and do something with this. So I’m so happy and so thrilled we’re both in this mad situation. It makes it way better.”
I think everyone in this team, everyone has said they’ve never really worked harder, so for everyone to get that recognition, it’s just I’m completely overwhelmed and I’m so happy for them… it just feels like such a beautiful recognition and an unbelievable honor.”
Next up for James is the January 2023 release of the Shekhar Kapur-directed What’s Love Got to Do With it? The comedic film, which also stars Emma Thompson and is written by Jemima Khan, follows documentary maker Zoe (James) as she examines the arranged marriage of her friend Kazim (Shazad Latif, Star Trek: Discovery).
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