Table of Contents Hide
- You’re all too young to know who the Sex Pistols are!
- Are you all fans now then?
- What was it like channelling your inner rock star?
- Was this your first time playing an instrument?
- Louis and Anson, you had no experience of music – how was that?
- Danny Boyle directs all six episodes. What was he like?
- There’s some belting 1970s fashion in the show too…
- Do you think you’ll carry a punk ethos with you?
- You got to meet some of the band. What were they like?
- John Lydon is certainly not a fan of the show…
- You almost don’t want him to like it though…
- Are you nervous about the public reception?
- I’m chatting to you in a lovely hotel. What’s going out the window when you trash it?
The cast chat about becoming the 70s punk sensations (Picture: Miya Mizuno / FX Networks)
There isn’t a much more iconic emblem for an era possible than what the The Sex Pistols were to punk in the 70s.
No one had ever seen anything quite like them on stage before, and spikey hair and headbanging tunes saw them shoot to fame in the middle of the decade.
Despite only really releasing one album and four singles over a few years, their legacy has lived on.
So what better way to tell their story than in a new TV show?
We chatted to the cast of Pistols to get the low-down on what it was like going back to the 70s and meeting the band.
You’re all too young to know who the Sex Pistols are!
Jacob Slater: I was a fan. I liked punk since I was 14 years old. The Clash, Ramones, Stooges and all those people. It was crazy to get this job and dive back into that teenage world and actually inhabit one of them. It was really strange.
Are you all fans now then?
Christian Lees: Oh, yeah. You can’t not respect it after learning to play it and understanding what it symbolises. It’s a misconception that they couldn’t play because they absolutely could.
What was it like channelling your inner rock star?
Christian: Playing the music was the best part. There’s something that connects you to the guys when you’re playing together. And we really were playing live gigs, we really became a band. We felt like rock stars.
Louis Partridge: We learned about our characters through it, too, Glen [Matlock, original bassist] plays in a different way to my character Sid [Vicious, who replaced him].
It’s finding your way into your character through the music, which I’ve never had the chance to do, but looking back now it’s apparent that was a clever way of getting us connected.
Was this your first time playing an instrument?
Christian: Jacob and I were already musicians.
Jacob: This is my first acting job.
Christian: He goes under the name of Wunderhorse
Jacob: Nice plug! It was really lovely though because during Covid even me as the supposed professional musician had been missing out playing with other people.
It was great to have an excuse to get back in a room and make some noise with the boys. And because most of the guys hadn’t done that before, it rekindled that feeling of when I was 13 forming my first band.
Anson Boon: That is how it felt for us. It felt pretty magical.
Jacob Slater as Paul Cook, Anson Boon as John Lyndon, Toby Wallace as Steve Jones and Christian Lees as Glen Matlock (Picture: Miya Mizuno / FX Networks)
The cast had to master the Sex Pistol’s onstage ‘cool’ (Picture: Miya Mizuno / FX Networks)
Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams plays model Jordan a.k.a. Pamela Rooke (Picture: Miya Mizuno / FX Networks)
The punk era was heavily tied to fashion. Talulah Riley plays Vivienne Westwood on the right (Picture: Miya Mizuno / FX Networks)
Louis and Anson, you had no experience of music – how was that?
Anson: It isn’t learning how to sing, really, it’s learning to capture [his character] John Lydon singing. Like, these guys can look so cool when they go off and play music but if I go up, I’d look like a tribute act!
Louis: It was probably a bit easier for me, especially playing Sid, I didn’t have to get to too high a standard. It was amazing how quickly we all picked it up. I loved it. I still kept my bass. They asked for it back but I managed to get it out of there.
Anson: We were so desperate to play, we enjoyed it so much. On our second day, we broke into the studio after hours to just go and jam for a few hours in the middle of the night because we were just enjoying ourselves so much. It was the job of a lifetime.
Danny Boyle directs all six episodes. What was he like?
Louis: At times, it felt like his childhood. It felt like he was making something for him and he was letting us in on his experiences.
Jacob: He would come to set and we’d all be knackered and he’d had less sleep than us. But he looked better every day. His eyes were wider. His tail was bushier. He was so charged with the spirit of what he was doing.
There’s some belting 1970s fashion in the show too…
Jacob: I don’t know about those crop tops. They didn’t wax me either. I thought they’d have had it all off! I had some fun things to wear but most of the great clothes went to Sid and Johnny.
Anson: There was this famous pink jacket that John wears for TV show So It Goes and obviously he always had lots of safety pins, chains, paper clips and other bits of stationery.
But on this particular jacket he also had something on his right shoulder and we couldn’t work out what it was. Then a week before shooting someone found a picture of it, zoomed in and it was the lid of a Tic-Tac box he sewed to his shoulder, just no explanation for it. I thought that was cool.
Do you think you’ll carry a punk ethos with you?
Louis: I found it cool to see this sense of power that comes with individuality and doing your own thing, doing it with confidence, stepping out there and being unashamed. It’s amazing how much a couple of people ascribing to that belief changed everything.
You got to meet some of the band. What were they like?
Christian: It was daunting, but they disarm you. It’s always surreal, like researching your characters, reading their books, and then talking to them. You feel a sense of responsibility, because you have their life in your hands.
The Sex Pistols on their final tour (Picture: Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
The band performing in 1977 on the Queen Elizabeth II at Riverboat party on the Thames (Picture: Elisa Leonelli / REX / Shutterstock)
These guys were the original punk icons (Picture: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
John Lydon is certainly not a fan of the show…
Anson: He’s not seen it! Although I’m sure we can guess what his reaction might be…
You almost don’t want him to like it though…
Anson: How boring would it have been if the Sex Pistols all held hands and walked down the carpet? He’s a contrarian. That’s what’s so interesting about him.
He’s going to attack us. That’s the exact reason we love him because he is unique. Danny and I would have loved for him to be involved so we could have heard all his amazing stories but it’s his decision.
Are you nervous about the public reception?
Jacob: I’m going to move to Mongolia and live my life as a goat farmer.
Louis: My grandma is going to see my bare arse…
Christian: There’s so much out there now you hope people watch it. But the best advert is word of mouth.
Anson: The Pistols divided opinion 45 years ago so maybe we’ll do it again.
I’m chatting to you in a lovely hotel. What’s going out the window when you trash it?
Anson: Glen’s going out of the window!
Christian: [Laughs] Yeah, I’m going to be dangled.
Pistol is streaming on Disney+ now