How Lily James Transformed Into Pamela Anderson for Pam & Tommy

Of course, to truly turn James into Anderson, custom face and body prosthetics were essential for the physical transformation. “The challenge is always daunting when you’re tasked to turn an actor into an iconic persona,” explains Collins, who worked diligently alongside Williams. The pair began by taking a forensic-like approach to getting to know Anderson’s features, collecting mid-’90s reference materials of the star from her early modeling career, films and television appearances, and candid paparazzi shots. 

They did the same for Lily James, using the latest technologies to map out a plan. “We cross-compared [James and Anderson] and did some photoshop work to help lay the foundation,” explains Collins. “Once we completed this research, we knew we were going to have to build a few specific prosthetics to help zero in on a more exact likeness.” From the start, the biggest difference to contend with was the spatial difference between their respective brows and hairline, James’s being significantly smaller than that of Anderson’s. To solve this problem, Collins had his team sculpt a forehead appliance to match Pam’s forehead. This would allow hairstylist Moe to place one of the wigs on James’s head half an inch back from her normal hairline. 

This was also fruitful for skinny brow execution. “By blending the prosthetic above the eyelids, we were able to cover Lily’s beautiful thick brows and place finely-laced tie eyebrows that replicated the look of the early to mid-’90s tweezed arch brow,” explains Collins. Another crucial element for the face was engineering Anderson’s pearly, million-dollar smile, which saw Collins’s team sculpting dentures that snapped over James’s teeth. “We were able to match Pam’s teeth to a tee, and this helped to push Lily’s upper and lower lips out slightly providing the full and voluptuous lips Pam has,” explains Collins. 

Photo: Erica Parise/Courtesy of Hulu