How Pam & Tommy Used Prosthetics To Transform Lily James And Sebastian Stan (And Sebastian Stan's Package)

"Is that Sebastian Stan's actual penis" is the phrase I typed into Google shortly after watching episode two of Hulu's "Pam & Tommy" series. This purely scientific inquiry yielded interesting information about how the massive talking penis (voiced by Jason Mantzoukas) is:

  1. Not Sebatsian Stan's actual penis

  2. A prosthetic that required the skillful efforts of SFX artists and puppeteers to bring to life

In addition to the impressive work that went toward making sure we got to see Stan's Tommy Lee have an extended heart-to-heart with his genitals, there was also a considerable amount of effort put into completely transforming Stan and Lily James into one of the most infamous couples of the '90s.

The Bare Facts on the Talking C***

The idea for the surreal scene actually came from Lee's own memoir, "Tommyland," in which his penis is featured an actual character. Showrunner Rob Siegel was very clear in stating that the surprising (cast)member featured in the second episode of "Pam & Tommy" was not real, saying, "That's not actually Sebastian Stan's d*** [...] It's a puppet, it's like Yoda." Specifically, the penis puppet is an animatronic prosthetic created by special effects company Autonomous FX, and operated by SFX artists Mike McCarty and Dave Snyder. 

Jason Collins, an SFX makeup artist for "Pam & Tommy" went into detail about the process of creating it in an an interview with GQ:

"It was made from silicone and involved lifecasting Sebastian so that we could then sculpt the appropriate size and blend points. Once we were done sculpting, another mould was made and we cast it from a plasticized silicone. The silicone is medical grade and gives the appendage a life-like fleshy quality,"

Considering the fact that the end result was both realistic and hauntingly large, it's clear that the SFX team was meticulous in its attention to detail since it has become a matter of public knowledge that Tommy Lee had a pretty sizable schlong after the unauthorized release of the sex tape he made with his then-wife Pamela Anderson in the '90s. While some CGI was used to help enhance the overall impact of the sentient appendage, the penis puppet was primarily the result of practical effects, which Siegel says was always the goal:

 "From the start, we always wanted it to be an animatronic d***. Most of these sentences have never been uttered. But we had a guy build us an animatronic talking d*** and they strapped it on Sebastian, and I hope to God we got behind-the-scenes footage of that day." 

I also hope they got behind-the-scenes footage of that day, respectfully. 

How Sebastian Became Gross

Sebastian Stan's metamorphosis into a famous douchebag didn't stop at the artful application of a giant talking penis. Getting as close as possible to the notorious Tommy Lee also included having all of the Mötley Crüe drummer's various tattoos applied (and frequently touched up) all over his body, and wearing prosthetic nipples applied with medical grade adhesive so that he could sport the musician's nipple rings without having to have his actual nipples pierced. Speaking from experience, nipple piercings are incredibly painful, so it's very cool that the SFX team found a way to make them look authentic without asking too much of Stan in terms of sacrificing his body for the sake of art and accuracy. The entire process took around three hours — with 45 minutes of that time being taken up by the nipple application.

Even with the aid of prosthetics, Stan still put his own body through intense physical changes in order to better replicate Lee's look. Rather than wearing a wig, Stan's actual hair was also chemically straightened and dyed in order to match the locks of his real-life counterpart. In an interview with Esquire, Stan also opened up about his adopting an extreme diet and workout routine in order to slim down and maintain the slight physique of a drug-loving rock star. "I basically did a lot of fasting and running on an empty stomach, which was really hard," he admitted, along with saying that he also adopted "a vegan diet, except without the carbohydrates," and that he found the process of changing his dietary habits and physical routine to be "tough."

Further illustrating his commitment to the role, Stan prepared to become Tommy Lee by playing the drums at least three times a week and watching footage of Lee in action in order to nail his signature drumstick twirl. You have to admire his dedication to portraying a scandalous dirtbag — and I say this not because I have any issues with voracious sexual appetites, recording said appetites, or "rock star" lifestyles, but because Lee was an abusive creep, and I would be remiss if I did not take the opportunity to say so. That said, I think Sebastian Stan somehow still manages to be kind of attractive in the role, despite perfectly emulating the gross, speedo-donning tool that was Tommy Lee of the '90s. Or maybe I'm just thirsty and longing for a new season of "Falcon and the Winter Soldier," trying to fill the Bucky-shaped hole in my heart with a tattoo-clad weirdo.

How Lily Became Pam

In the same way that there was an entire process behind Lee/Stan's talking d***, actress Lily James revealed that a small army was involved in the process of becoming Pamela Anderson. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, James thanked all of the people involved in helping her become completely unrecognizable as the iconic "Baywatch" babe and activist:

"I have to give all the credit to David Williams on the makeup side, and Barry Lee Moe from hair, and the prosthetic team, and my day-to-day makeup artist Abby [Lyle] and Mo [Meinhart], who are the greatest people ever and just so dedicated, so full of love and attention to detail [...] And Kami [Lennox], our costume designer, is out of this world."

As the quote suggests, prosthetics were a key element in James' metamorphosis. The British actress was fitted with a custom chest plate to match Anderson's signature silhouette — meaning that the perky pair we see in the series are not the result of biology or plastic surgery, but rather a damn good SFX artist. Additionally, James wore a custom forehead prosthetic and dentures in order to better match Anderson's facial features and recreate her smile. According to James, the entire process of hair, make-up, and prosthetic application took a total of four hours before filming, with the end result being a nearly perfect replica of '90s Pam. "I was in the makeup chair at 3:30 a.m., and there would be this four-hour process to get me into the Pamela look," she said. During this time, James would watch interviews with Pamela Anderson in order to study her accent and better prepare for the role, obviously to much success.

Like Stan, James says she also underwent intense physical changes to successfully mimic her half of the infamous celebrity duo: "I worked with this amazing trainer, Matt Bevan, who worked with Daisy Ridley as well. He worked me so hard and I got really fit. I lost a ton of weight." The actress credits both the physical training and the work of the makeup artists in helping her look like a carbon copy of Anderson.

The fact that the incredibly involved and technical transformations of Stan and James into Lee and Anderson end up looking so real and effortless rather than veering into parody is a true testament to the skill and dedication of the costume designer, SFX team, and make-up artists, as well as to the willingness of the actors to become canvases for the sake of entertainment and storytelling.

"Pam & Tommy" is currently streaming on Hulu.