Beyond belief. Pam & Tommy gave viewers a fictionalized glimpse of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee‘s short-lived marriage, but the Hulu series deviated from reality less often than you might think.
The eight-episode show followed the Baywatch alum (Lily James) and Mötley Crüe drummer (Sebastian Stan) from their first meeting in Mexico through the sex-tape scandal that upended their honeymoon period. The story of how Rand Gauthier (Seth Rogen) stole the infamous Hi8 video is full of wild twists and turns, but creator Robert Siegel did his best to maintain factual accuracy.
“We didn’t make up a whole lot,” the Wrestler screenwriter, 50, told Entertainment Weekly in January. “Most of what you see in those eight episodes is in that article. The basic plot beats are all straight from the article.”
Siegel was referring to the facts set forth in a 2014 Rolling Stone article “Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape,” written by Amanda Chicago Lewis. The piece served as the main inspiration for the Hulu series, down to the detail that Gauthier had an interest in religion.
Anderson, 54, and Lee, 59, didn’t participate in the show, but their portrayers both emphasized the importance of staying as true to life as they could.
“It’s always such a huge responsibility to play someone, a real person,” James, 32, told Entertainment Tonight in March. “Particularly with Pam, she’s such an icon, I really love her, and I wanted to try and do her justice and try and capture her spirit and really explore what happened at that time and how she was treated and how things have changed, or not changed.”
For his part, Stan, 39, really learned to play the drums so he could better embody one of rock’s most famous percussionists.
“I don’t play any musical instruments,” the Marvel star told ET. “So, just kind of going at it and learning from scratch was pretty terrifying. I guess he was labelled as the greatest drummer in the world, so it just felt like they were big shoes to fill. But I did my best.”
While much of the show stayed true to real life, there was one scene in particular that was a total fabrication: the one where Mötley Crüe loses their studio to Third Eye Blind.
“Mötley Crüe and I’ve never been in the same studio,” Third Eye Blind frontman Stephan Jenkins told Variety in February. “I had never, in fact, listened to Mötley Crüe. I never even heard them. I actually saw Tommy Lee’s penis before I ever heard their band. I was like, ‘Well, good on ya, Tommy. Well done, lad.’ I literally had never heard them. But I somehow saw the sex tape.”
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All eight episodes of Pam & Tommy are streaming on Hulu. Keep scrolling to see what the show got right and wrong about its subjects.