Are Lily James’ Breasts Real or Fake in Pam and Tommy?

‘Pam & Tommy’ follows the raunchy, emotional, and darkly funny story of the titular couple’s whirlwind romance and theft of their private recording, which eventually goes viral. The story begins when their disgruntled carpenter Rand (Seth Rogen) unknowingly steals an intimate tape from the recently wedded Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee’s mansion. This leads to a series of cascading events that throw the couple’s life into chaos.

Considering the widespread coverage of the actual events that inspired the miniseries, great care has been taken to depict the titular couple accurately, at least physically. Pamela Anderson is one of the most iconic sex symbols in entertainment history. Let’s take a look at how actress Lily James transformed into a convincing doppelganger of the voluptuously figured Playboy cover girl in ‘Pam & Tommy.’

Are Pamela Anderson’s Breasts Real or Fake in Pam & Tommy?

In an interview, Lily James revealed being shocked when she first found out she was being considered to play the famous blonde sex symbol Pamela Anderson. However, a team of highly skilled professionals working for four hours before filming made the highly unlikely into a reality, transforming James into a spitting image of the 1990s ‘Baywatch’ era Pamela Anderson. The daily four-hour process included hair, makeup, prosthetics, and wardrobe — the keyword here being “prosthetics,” which included the chest attachment that helped the ‘Downton Abbey‘ actress mimic Anderson’s famous 34D (and later 34DD) breasts.

Image Credit: Erin Simkin/HULU

Though prosthetic breasts are not very common in cinema, they have been used to memorable effect on a number of occasions. The connotations and reasons behind having breasts look a certain way in scenes vary greatly, ranging from sexual to comic, and, as in the case of ‘Pam & Tommy,’ to mimic reality. Oscar Winner Jane Fonda famously wore a temporary chest prosthetic (created by smoothing silicon over her) for the movie ‘This is Where I Leave You.’ Allison Pill put on a comically oversized chest prosthetic for a brief scene in ‘Zoom’ and later explained how the “extreme characterization” was required because of audiences getting desensitized to seeing large breasts in entertainment.

It seems that the natural form is often favored over prosthetic additions, not the least because putting on prosthetics is a time-consuming process. There is, of course, rich history of topless scenes in cinema, which either depict the cast member or a body double. However, the specificity required in the depiction of Anderson, who reportedly had two breast implant surgeries in the late 1990s, meant that an elaborate prosthetic was designed, and putting it on became part of James’ makeup process.

Interestingly, the prosthetic chest is not as ever-present in the series and James revealed that the piece was sometimes left out while filming due to the long process of putting it on. At times, the team seemingly “cheated” by placing James in costumes that subtly either hid or enhanced her chest. She also described feeling uncomfortably hot in the fake chest piece. The prosthetics (which also included facial additions like eyes, wig, and teeth) were but one part of a bigger process that went into turning James into Anderson.

The actress began physical training six months before filming started and continued her regimen throughout lensing. Weekly spray tans to achieve a skin tone symbolic of sunny LA and lessons with a speech therapist, along with endless viewings of Anderson’s interviews, were also pieces of the puzzle that went into forming the final picture. James also described a tactic she and lead co-star Sebastian Stan used to get their voices “huskier” for some scenes. The novel process involved screaming into a pillow.

And so, the breasts sported by Lily James in the show’s more revealing scenes, of which there are a fair few, are an intricate chest prosthetic made to help the actress mimic Pamela Anderson. It seems there are also a number of scenes where the actress is not wearing the chest piece, but the titular Pamela Anderson’s unmistakable form is always very closely represented, even when it is unseen.

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