“That was really hard to watch her go through”

Pamela Anderson invited documentary filmmaker Ryan White to her home for Netflix’s Pamela, a love story, which comes out on January 31. (Photo: Netflix)

The director of Netflix’s Pamela Anderson documentary hopes the film “takes away the caricature” and people “see the human.”

Forward Pamela, A love story Released Jan. 31, filmmaker Ryan White talks to Yahoo Entertainment about telling the story of the famous blonde bombshell whose life spans the now decades since her first Playboy coverage and slo-mo beach sprint continues Baywatch.

White was brought into the project by Anderson’s oldest son, Brandon Thomas Lee, who is producing the document, which uses Anderson’s personal video archive and diaries. Born in 1981, White says growing up, “Pamela was like the most famous person in the world to me. She’s like my Kardashian,” but admitted that he “hadn’t thought much about [her] in the past 20 years.” And while the Serena and Ask Dr. Ruth The director assumed her story would be a compelling documentary, he was concerned that she would be “a larger than life personality” with “a huge machine of people around her”, which would not suit his bare-bones filmmaking style .

White agreed to a Zoom meeting with Anderson and after two or three hours of talking, he found her “so different from anything I expected. And our conversation was different than I expected. Her personality was different. Her sense of humor was else “I just felt like then you know you have a great doctor: I’m so shocked right now about who this real woman is – versus the public persona or public creation we’ve done. If I could bottle this conversation and translate it into cinematic film, people will be really surprised and enjoy meeting her – the real one.”

When it came to making the movie, “Pamela said from the start… ‘Nothing is off limits. There are no rules. Ask me anything,'” White recalled, adding, “Pamela is very vulnerable by nature – for better or worse because I think that burned her a lot in her life and career.

(Photo: Pamela, A Love Story/Netflix)

Anderson’s “hundreds and hundreds” of personal videos were used for the Netflix project. She flipped the tapes without watching them again, and does look at the camera a bit during the film, bringing memories of past loves back to life. (Photo: Pamela, A Love Story/Netflix)

The story would be about Anderson’s new life. How after a famously wild and crazy Hollywood run in 2020, she went back to her hometown of Ladysmith, British Columbia, married a construction worker and then lived happily ever after. During filming, however, the marriage to her fourth (legal) husband was on the rocks, leaving the woman – painted throughout the film as someone who only hopes for true, last love – left vulnerable. Then Hulu announced Pam and Tommy, a biographical look at the infamous stolen home video of Anderson and first husband Tommy Lee, which was edited into a sex tape and sold without the couple’s consent. Anderson never profited from the tape, turning down a $5 million bid for rights in the ’90s, and while the Mötley Crüe drummer was basically cheered for it, Anderson was mocked on late-night TV. She said it not only affected her career, but also her marriage to Tommy and later the lives of her sons. The show, starring Lily James and Sebastian Stan, was like kicking her while knocking her down.

“She didn’t know about the Hulu show when we started making the documentary,” says White. As the news broke that came out, followed by the trailer and then the actual release of the series, “Those were the moments where I could say that Pamela just wanted out.” Not from his cameras, but “from the world”, as she was “traumatized again” by the theft while “knowing the whole country was talking about it” – again. While she never asked White to stop filming, there were times — like when a friend innocently texted her the trailer, thinking she was involved in the show in some way — “when she’d snap” or would be “nauseous”.

Adds White, “That was really hard to see her go through. I give her a lot of credit for allowing me to continue filming because it was really rough.”

(Photo: Netflix)

Anderson’s oldest son Brandon Lee (pictured) produced the documentary and both sons, including Dylan, appear in it. (Photo: Netflix)

It also wasn’t easy going through all of her old videos (of which there were “hundreds and hundreds”), including her weddings to Tommy, Kid Rock, and Rick Salomon. At one point in the film, she and Brandon look at old footage and share with him the realization that after her headlong true love with Tommy, she never really loved anyone else. She said she carries with her the failure of that relationship with her son’s fathers, now aged 55 and divorced four times. In the midst of the emotional scene, she and Brandon took a break from filming to go for a walk.

“Making this documentary with her unleashed all these emotions,” says White. “I think it was almost like therapy for her.”

Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee (Photo by S. Granitz/WireImage)

Pamela Anderson’s love story with Tommy Lee – the highs and low lows – is being retold. (Photo by S. Granitz/WireImage)

White never considered interviewing any of her ex-husbands on the project — including Tommy, who she’s in a friendly relationship with these days. (He married Brittany Furlan in 2019.)

“From the beginning, my conversation with Pamela was, ‘If I’m going to do this with you, I want to be with you a lot. I want this to be incredibly personal and raw and intimate. I actually want your life and your world through your eyes’ ‘ he says. ‘And my vision for that was no talking heads in the movie, including the ex-husbands. We were lucky and that we have that huge archive so especially Tommy but all spouses, can kind of shine through about who they were through images of them… I wanted it to be her life through her eyes and not those someone else’s.

White did note that Pamela, Brandon and Dylan “all have a great relationship with Tommy” and he knew from the start that she would star in a documentary and that the archive would be used. “He was very supportive of her to tell the story.”

The film covers Anderson’s entire life, from a tumultuous childhood in which she was abused by a babysitter, raped at age 12 and abused by boyfriends, until she ended up on the doorstep of Playboy in 1989 and recaptured her sexuality through her early nude shoots. After that, she took on Hollywood and fell in love, only to get burned by showbiz deals that failed to shower her with cash, the stolen tape (which she felt was another rape), and love.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 25: Pamela Anderson attends SiriusXM's 'The Howard Stern Show' at SiriusXM Studios on January 25, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Visiting Pamela Anderson The Howard Stern Show on January 25 during her press tour to promote her Netflix documentary and her new memoir. (Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

As for what White hopes people get out of the movie, he says a reminder that she’s human.

“If this documentary does anything for Pamela personally — because she’s not a chess player, she’s not entrepreneurial, she doesn’t need this documentary to increase her fame or fame — then I hope it’s that people will understand her in a way that they misunderstood… and will be more of a thumbs up to her than they make fun of her,” he says. “I think people have actually always done that. I don’t think Pamela was always such a ridiculous punch line. I think people have a deep-rooted affection for her. But she was easy to laugh at because of the more caricatured parts of her. So I hope this takes away the caricature [and] you see the human behind it.

He adds, “And I think people will be ready to root for her for, you know, the last chapters of her life. I think she deserves to be an American icon — and I think that people are ready to get behind her. her.”

Pamela, A love story comes out on Netflix Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET. her memoirs, Love, Pamelagoes on sale the same day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *