The actress is opening up about her life.
After making a splash with Harry & Meghan, Netflix is returning with another explosive documentary featuring yet another public figure who is keen to set the record straight: Pamela, A Love Story, in which Pamela Anderson opens up about her marriages, relationship with the media, the stolen tape that upended her life, and what she really thought of the raucous and divisive Pam & Tommy.
Back in March 2022, the Baywatch star confirmed that the project was going ahead via Instagram, where she posted a note written on the streaming giant’s letterhead in which she described herself as “not a victim, but a survivor” who is “alive to tell the real story”. Directed by the Emmy-nominated Ryan White (The Case Against 8, The Keepers), the new film is billed as the definitive documentary about the pop culture icon which will provide an intimate portrait of her professional and personal life. It’s set to feature exclusive access to Anderson, never-before-seen archival footage and excerpts from her journals. Both of Anderson’s sons with her former husband Tommy Lee, Brandon Thomas Lee and Dylan Jagger Lee, have voiced their support for the project on social media (Brandon is also one of its producers).
The film has reportedly been years in the making, but the timing of its launch, on 31 January 2023, is significant given the renewed interest in Anderson’s past following the release of Pam & Tommy, the eight-part series that fictionalises Anderson and Tommy Lee’s tumultuous marriage and the scandal that engulfed them after their sex tape was leaked. The show was created without Anderson’s approval or participation and since it began airing last February, those close to her have spoken about her refusal to watch it and how painful it has been for her to have audiences revisit such a distressing period of her life. “After the tape was made public, it was a very traumatising situation and it’s unfair that she is being re-subjected to this trauma, like re-opening a wound,” one source told People. “It’s her life and she should have the decision [as to] whether it’s turned into a commodity for public consumption.”
According to Vanity Fair, Anderson discovered that the scripted series was being made while filming this documentary, and it “incited a painful aftershock of trauma” that plays out on screen in the new project. We see a glimpse of this moment in the trailer, released on 10 January, which opens with Anderson speaking in voiceover as archival footage of her flashes across the screen. “I didn’t sleep last night, at all,” she says. “I blocked that stolen tape out of my life in order to survive and now that it’s all coming up again, I feel sick. I want to take control of the narrative for the first time.” We then see her journalling, racing across the beach in an episode of Baywatch in the ’90s, being ridiculed in interviews and trailed by paparazzi. “I had to make a career out of the pieces left,” she continues. “But I’m not the damsel in distress.”
Of her decision to speak about the tape at length, Anderson told Vanity Fair, “Nobody knew the truth – even I don’t know 100 per cent of what happened, but I think what is most important is to share my human feelings and how much it hurt and how it undeniably defined me moving forward – in my career and my relationships.” White, meanwhile, describes the film as “raw, honest [and] really emotional”, adding, “We have this whole archive of Tommy and Pamela falling in love, and I think our film will really humanise them. I think they’re often seen as these larger-than-life… maybe even cartoon characters. When you watch this footage of them meeting, it’s really beautiful.”
Best of all, the documentary will be released on the same day as Anderson’s new memoir, Love, Pamela. Expect them both to be as candid and eye-opening as each other.
This article was originally published on British Vogue