For “Pam & Tommy” Vocals, Sebastian Stan & Lily James Screamed Into Pillows

Sebastian Stan, who plays Tommy in “Pam & Tommy”, claimed that he and co-star Lily James screamed into pillows between scenes to get their characters’ voices. On February 2, 2022, Hulu debuted “Pam & Tommy”, a biographical miniseries. The sitcom follows actress Pamela Anderson (James) and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee (Stan) as they deal with the fallout from the public release of their honeymoon sex film. The series also features Nick Offerman, Taylor Schilling, Seth Rogan, and Andrew Dice Clay, in addition to Stan and James.

The first three episodes of “Pam & Tommy” were posted on Hulu on February 2. So far, the response has been mostly good, with critics appreciating the sensitive way in which the tale is handled, as well as Stan and James’ great performances. Stan and James have been open about the lengths they went to in order to genuinely inhabit the roles of Anderson and Lee in the lead-up to the show’s premiere. Hours in the makeup chair each day, prosthetic chests and foreheads, learning the drums, and wearing steel balls were all part of the preparation. Now, the two are sharing another method they used to prepare for “Pam and Tommy”.

In a Jimmy Kimmel Live! appearance! Stan claimed that he and James screamed into pillows to record their individual characters’ voices in between scenes. Stan and James would listen to Anderson and Lee’s voices in interviews over and over again. They’d scream into pillows in between scenes to get their voices raspy enough for Anderson and Lee’s vocals. Most of the cast and crew undoubtedly believed the two were “losing their minds” in their trailers, according to Stan. Take a look at Stan’s statement:

We both would just on a repeat listen to their voices in their interviews and — I know we both did this — we would actually scream into pillows in between the scenes. I was trying to get my voice raspy to sound like him, and you were doing that too. So it was like you’re screaming into a pillow as well. I think everyone thought we were literally losing our minds in our trailers.

Stan’s statement elucidates the extent to which he and James invested in “Pam and Tommy’s” makeovers. Acting is difficult enough in and of itself, but capturing the precise mannerisms, voice, and appearance of a real-life personality adds to the burden. In reality, James was on the verge of leaving “Pam & Tommy” because she was struggling with the sheer intensity of the procedure. Stan and James are representing real-life figures in Pam & Tommy, and they are portraying them in a real-life scenario that is sensitive and delicate to them. Stan and Lily’s significant effort and earnestness in portraying Anderson and Lee were especially crucial in aligning with the show’s intention to approach a tough subject with respect and delicacy.

While Stan and Lily went to great lengths to get into character for “Pam & Tommy”, they are just the latest in a long line of actors and actresses who have gone to similar lengths to play a role. Nicole Kidman took up smoking in order to imitate Lucille Ball’s heavy smoker’s voice in Being The Ricardos. Similarly, due to his character’s regular smoking, Benedict Cumberbatch had nicotine poisoning three times while filming The Power of the Dog. Stan and James have now joined the ranks of actors and actresses who have sacrificed their comfort and even their health to bring a role to life. While it’s amusing to imagine the two screaming into pillows between acts, it appears that their strategy succeeded because they completely convert into Anderson and Lee for “Pam and Tommy”.