Here’s a new interview of Taylor Schilling with Decider
DECIDER: I’m curious if you went into this project with any preconceptions of your own about Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee, and their sex tape scandal. And how did working on this show change, challenge, or even confirm some of those?
TAYLOR SCHILLING: I totally had serious preconceptions, but they were vague. Because I was young, very young. So I didn’t in real time experience the tape or the fallout or anything like that. But I always had this hazy understanding that there was a tape attached to Pam Anderson. And I kind of by default assumed it was something she had put out into the world. Something that she had maybe wanted. I never spent too much time getting into it. I never had any idea what was going on. I was like, “Oh, okay, so that maybe started sex tapes or something.”
All to say, I was really blown away by this story. I was blown away that both Pam and Tommy were victims of a rather violent crime. Not rather, a hugely major crime. That was also quite invisible because the internet is not what it is now. People didn’t have access to understand that the tape was stolen from them. It was in fact not pornography. It was a deeply intimate private space that was exploited and that they never made any money off of it.
I mean I was sort of awe-struck that the story was what it was. I had no idea. And in addition to just being excited to work with the people involved with this project. I thought it was just so magnificent. It was exciting to think, “Well, if this is so shocking to me and revelatory to me…” Just like we are updating so many conversations now and there’s so many outdated belief systems that we’re now sort of as a collective rethinking. It’s like, damn, we need to do that with this, too.
kind of love the sort of weird triangle between your character, Seth, and Medalion Rahimi’s Danielle. I wanted more with Danielle and Erica personally. Did you work with Medalion because you guys just have this beautiful lived-in vibe that Seth is just constantly plowing into. Can you describe building that on set and what that was like for you?
Yeah well, Medalion is just a great actress. And really so game to come in and kind of just knock it out of the park with very little time. So yeah it was so fun. It was really very fun. And then Seth was so great so it was a good group.
How much research did you do into the adult film world, and into the world of LA in the ’90s? How much did you know about Erica who she’s based on?
Yeah, I did as much as I could. I was fascinated by it. I mean I am now. I’m sort of fascinated by the Valley actually in general. It’s its own place.
There’s not a lot about Erica that’s available. There’s some things that her contemporaries have said about her. And there’s of course her body of work. She left, I believe, over 80 adult films. I mean she was a true star. She was a porn star. And it was really interesting to go back and watch some of her work with the eye of the person behind the performer. And also you know in something like this it’s just written so well. The Erica in the world of Pam & Tommy is very clear. It’s like very much in the scripts.