Following the recent premiere of the Hulu Original limited series Pam & Tommy, Nerds & Beyond talked to editor Annette Davey about her work putting the show together.
Set in the “Wild West” early days of the internet, Pam & Tommy follows the infamous true story of the sex tape of Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan). After it was stolen from the couple’s home by a disgruntled contractor (Seth Rogen), the video evolved from an underground bootleg-VHS curiosity to a full-blown global sensation once it made its way onto the web in 1997.
Davey edited four episodes of Pam & Tommy in total: the first three episodes, which were directed by Craig Gillespie, and the sixth episode for director Hannah Fidell. A highly experienced editor, Davey has worked on a wide selection of television shows, including Transparent, Better Things, and GLOW. Some of her other work includes Lionsgate’s film Lady of the Manor, the Sundance 2021 pick Together Together, and Netflix’s hit series Maid.
Nerds & Beyond: How did you become involved with working on Pam & Tommy? What drew you toward this project?
Annette Davey: This was one of the projects that my agent pitched to me, and when I heard who was making the series, Craig Gillespie, Seth Rogen, Hulu & Annapurna, and the amazing cast, I was really excited about the series. I then read the scripts, which were funny & compassionate and completely sold me on Pam & Tommy.
Nerds and Beyond: Over the course of the series, Pam & Tommy starts off quite lighthearted and humorous and then gradually becomes more emotional and somber as events unfold. How did you approach this steady build up from upbeat to serious across your episodes (particularly if you worked on things out of order)?
Davey: I was fortunate in that I worked on the first three episodes initially, which gave me a really good understanding of what had happened and also a clear insight into who these characters were. I also edited episode 6, which is the episode where Pam goes for her deposition, and this was a really serious episode, but I felt it was well deserved, and I think it really resonates with people to see this aspect of Pam in particular.
Nerds & Beyond: Episode 6 is all about Pamela Anderson from start to finish. It’s so powerful and impactful as we see important events from Pam’s past play out alongside the nerve-wracking deposition scenes. Can you talk about working on this episode, and how your approach differed in contrast with the first three?
Davey: This episode was much more serious and also very contained, which makes it very different. I worked really hard to make it be serious but not too much of a downer compared to the other episodes. I really felt for Pam at this point in the series, and I think other people will, too. It seemed this was the time to see what impact the tape had specifically on her. It was different for her than Tommy, and I really appreciated being able to see what it did to her specifically and how she was treated during the deposition process.
Nerds & Beyond: There are some serious, underlying messages in Pam & Tommy for viewers that become increasingly clear as the series reaches its end. Episode 6 in particular felt like a key turning point, and I think it will really resonate with audiences. As the editor on this episode, what message were you hoping to get across with your work/what sort of audience takeaways were you aiming to inspire?
Davey: I really wanted the audience to understand what the tape had done to Pam and to feel the difference between her experience and Tommy’s experience. I also wanted to show how Pam was treated by the legal team, both her own and the guys in charge of the deposition. It’s a brutal experience to sit in a room surrounded by men asking you all kinds of personal and intimate questions, and I think the episode really captures this incredibly well. It also was great to see a young Pamela, as this was an important contrast from her beginnings to where she is in episode 6.
Nerds & Beyond: Did working on Pam & Tommy present you with any new or unique challenges as an editor?
Davey: It was unique to be working on a series that was based around two well known celebrities, and I felt we really needed to be mindful and respectful of their story.
Nerds & Beyond: How does your approach differ when you’re working on something like Pam & Tommy, a true story based on real, living people, versus something fictional?
Davey: I don’t know that my approach is very different. I am still trying to tell the story in the best possible way, but I think working on Pam & Tommy encouraged everyone involved to be thoughtful of the fact that it was a real story with real people. Everyone involved was really mindful of this from the actors, the crew, to the directors, producers and executives.
Nerds & Beyond: What’s a piece of advice that you can offer to someone hoping to enter your line of work?
Davey: It’s a wonderful job, but you do need to be comfortable spending lots of time alone, and also when starting out, you need to be persistent to get your foot in the door. However, people in the industry are very responsive to those beginning their careers, as we all had to do it and remember what it’s like. So keep knocking on doors and finding opportunities to learn more about the craft wherever possible. Persistence does work, and it’s an amazing job to have!
Episodes 1 through 6 of Pam & Tommy are now streaming on Hulu. The penultimate episode of the series is due to premiere on Wednesday, March 2.