‘Pamela, A Love Story’ Director Ryan White Reveals What Surprised Him Most About Pamela Anderson – Contenders TV: Docs + Unscripted

The words “Pamela Anderson” and “sex tape” might remain synonymous forever. But one of the revelations of the Netflix documentary Pamela, A Love Story, is that Anderson herself has long since moved past the scandal that erupted in the mid-1990s after a home video leaked of her having sex with her then-husband, Mötley Crüe rocker Tommy Lee. 

“She’s a very live-in-the-moment, present-tense type of person,” director Ryan White said during an appearance at Deadline’s Contenders Television: Documentary + Unscripted virtual event. “Of course, I was having all of these conversations with her, asking her to reflect on the past — which she was willing to do. But she doesn’t spend a lot of her life giving a ton of thought to what could have been or what happened to her, what her career could have been without these things. It’s just not really how the Pamela Anderson brain works.” 

White, the award-winning director of Good Night Oppy and other documentaries, recorded multiple interviews with Anderson at her boathouse in British Columbia. He says his biggest surprise was discovering “how funny she was. … I’m someone who prides myself on being quick with a sense of humor. I still have trouble keeping up with Pamela. … She’s so lovable — more than likable. I know I personally didn’t expect that … but I don’t think audiences were necessarily expecting that either.” 

RELATED: Contenders Docs + Unscripted Deadline’s Complete Coverage

White said it was Anderson’s two kids with Lee, Brandon and Dylan, who wanted their mom to make the documentary. Once on board, she didn’t hold back – sharing private diaries and other personal archival materials and discussing sexual assault and sexual abuse she suffered as a girl. 

“We were talking about a lot of heavy things while I was there. She would say, ‘Please, Ryan, just whatever [you do], do not let this be a sob story … because I do not see my life as a sob story,’” he recalled. “I think her worst nightmare would’ve been me making a film that painted her as a victim. Even some of the hardest moments of her life, Pamela is very matter of fact about them.” 

Check back Monday for the panel video.

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