“Pam & Tommy”: a story of sex, crimes and video
To that end, the show took steps, DeVincentis said, to highlight the very divergent ways in which Anderson and Lee experienced events. Lewis, who wrote the Rolling Stone article, was a consultant for the series; two of the writers were women, and later episodes were directed by women, including Lake Bell, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, and Hannah Fidell. (Craig Gillespie, who directed “I, Tonya,” directed the first three.)
“These two people had the exact same experience in the movies, that movie was shown to the world, but she was shamed into the business and he was saved from being a has-been and reimagined as some sort of god of the sex,” DeVincentis said. “The only difference between them was gender.”
Some early critics accused “Pam & Tommy” of trying to have it both ways — of seeking redress for Anderson’s humiliation while capitalizing on the inherent sexiness of the subject matter. It tells the hidden story of a non-consensual leak, but it was done without Anderson’s consent. The sex and nudity are mostly down to earth, but they’re thinly disguised.
Citing unnamed sources close to Anderson, multiple outlets including Entertainment Tonight, US Weekly and The Sun reported that she was unhappy with the series. The producers said they tried: Anderson turned down several requests from the production to be involved with the series, a Hulu spokesperson said. (Anderson did not respond to requests for comment for this article.)
“We were constantly monitoring the right balance between revealing how Pam was victimized while portraying people who were living rock ‘n’ roll lives,” the showrunners said in a follow-up email. “Everyone involved in making the show was in near-constant dialogue about how our portrayal would thread that needle.”
James, a British actress known for her roles in ‘Downton Abbey’, ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Baby Driver’, said her attempts to contact Anderson had failed. Siegel acknowledged that James was in some ways a counter-intuitive choice for the role, but he had wanted to subvert expectations.