‘Pam & Tommy’: A ‘Humiliating’ Nude Photo Leak Inspired How Lake Bell Directed Episodes

Ever since Pam & Tommy began airing, it has captured audiences everywhere with its accurate depiction of events that were the marriage between Hollywood superstars Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee.

The show’s actors, Sebastián Stan and Lily James, have also received praise for their spot-on impressions and transforming into lookalikes of the real Pam and Tommy. A significant storyline that the show explores is the leaked nude photos of Anderson and Lee. Director Lake Bell recently revealed that her own similar experience inspired how she directed the episodes.

The drama series explores the ins and outs of one of Hollywood’s most controversial marriages

Pam & Tommy is a biographical miniseries that details the tumultuous relationship and marriage between Motley Crue founder and drummer Lee and Anderson. It also centers around their infamous sex tape, leaked by a disgruntled employee in 1995.

When the series begins, viewers see craftsman Rand Gauthier working on renovations in the drummer’s house. He frequently gets annoyed by Lee’s demands, usually in the 11th hour. He also feels frustrated by Lee’s delayed reimbursements for construction materials used for the projects.

Once Gautier completes his work on Lee’s mansion, the drummer refuses to pay him for the job, calling it shoddy, and fires Gauthier and his crew. The craftsman forgets his toolbox, and upon returning for it, Lee seizes it at gunpoint, forcing Gauthier to exert revenge.

He and his crew member Lonnie return to Lee’s house at night to steal a safe in the garage. Among the many contents in the safe is a sex tape that Lee had recorded with his Playboy model wife Anderson privately during their honeymoon.

Gauthier submits the sex tape to a pornographic director called Uncle Miltie. The pair try to sell the video to various distributors, who turn them down due to fear of legal action. Gauthier, however, gets the idea to sell copies of the tape online, and when Miltie learns of this, he arranges a meeting to get financing. Meanwhile, Anderson learns of her pregnancy.

Lake Bell’s similar experience gave her inspiration for directing the episodes

Lake Bell closeup with the actor wearing turquoise earrings
Lake Bell | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

In 2014, several celebrities got hacked, resulting in their private photographs being posted online on various sites like Reddit. Pam & Tommy director Bell was among the 101 stars whose photos found their way online, and while some A-listers came out to confirm the photos’ authenticity, others like Bell preferred to lay low.

Bell recently sat down with Insider, where she detailed her experience, calling it “an unreal tsunami in the industry.” Bell recalled “having to talk to an FBI recovering agent for a week-about that property being stolen, and it was so humiliating.”

When her talent agency approached her to direct some episodes of the Hulu miniseries, the memories came flooding back. However, instead of letting them consume her, Bell decided to channel the unpleasant experience into a work of art.

Bell noted that Pam & Tommy gave her an avenue to address exploitation while also giving viewers a comedic break. The director admitted that participating in the show helped elevate her storytelling style and gave her a way of dealing with what she lived through.

Bell is an accomplished actor

Bell’s career began in 2002 when she landed a role in the film Speakeasy. The part gained her recognition leading to several appearances in projects like ER, I Love Your Work, The Practice, Boston Legal, Bless This Mess, and New Girl.

She has also lent her voice to several animations, including Cryptozoo, The Secret Life of Pets, Harley Quinn, and recently voiced Black Widow/ Natasha Romanoff in What If…?

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