Lily James felt "liberated" playing Pamela Anderson.
The 32-year-old actress portrays the Baywatch star in new Hulu miniseries Pam & Tommy - which focuses on the 1995 leak of the then couple's sex tape - and although she had to undergo a gruelling four-hour physical transformation before filming each day, she found it freeing" to look so unlike herself.
She said: "And then, of course, there was the physical transformation. Slowly, our incredible team found a balance where I resembled Pamela but also felt like I could act through it.
"I’ve never done anything where I look very different from myself before. And I’d really like to continue in this vein because I felt there was something very freeing and liberating in it. There was a bravery that came from that. A courage that came from… disappearing."
Lily admitted she has "never worked so hard" as she did when researching the blonde beauty.
She told PORTER magazine: "I’ve never worked so hard. I’ve read all the books [Anderson] has written, I read her poetry, I can parrot along to all her interviews."
And the Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again star admitted it was hard to shake off her character once filming was complete.
She said: "It takes a while to let a character like that leave you. In the past, I maybe felt too modest to believe that I might inhabit a role so greatly that it would impact on me, but it really does. My therapist said that when her husband watches a rugby match, by the end he’s exhausted – your nervous system doesn’t really know the difference, whether it’s him winning a goal or watching it happen. And I think the same happens when you live through someone."
Lily's co-star, Sebastian Stan - who plays Tommy - recently admitted he didn't recognise the actress when he saw her out of costume for the first time.
He said: "It's really wild, with Lily, because the first time I saw her as herself was actually at the end of the shoot five months later," he said, "and I was like, 'Who are you?' That's when we actually formally met."
Pam & Tommy is available to stream on Disney+ in New Zealand on February 2.
- Bang! Showbiz