Pistol director Danny Boyle says being criticized by Sex Pistols icon John Lydon is 'a small price to pay'

·2 min read
Pistol director Danny Boyle says being criticized by Sex Pistols icon John Lydon is 'a small price to pay'

It is fair to say that singer John Lydon is not a fan of Pistol, Hulu's six-episode limited series detailing the story of the Sex Pistols, the iconic punk-rock band Lydon fronted as "Johnny Rotten."

Last year, after seeing publicity images from the show, Lydon told The Sunday Times that he regarded the series as the "most disrespectful s--- I've ever had to endure."

The singer subsequently attempted to block the series from using the Sex Pistols' music, ultimately losing a court battle with Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, who were happy for the tracks to be featured in the series.

So what does Toby Wallace, who plays Steve Jones in Pistol, think about all this?

"I love it," says the actor, whose costars on the show include Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams and the Lydon-portraying Anson Boon. "I wouldn't have it any other way, to be honest with you. Of course he's going to do that. Of course he's going to go down that road."

Wallace continues, "I think good on him. He's got that kind of really rebellious f--- you attitude [that] especially nowadays is quite hard come by. I'd be disappointed if there wasn't some kind of a row. I don't think it's going to hurt the project, so there you go."

Pistol Anson Boon as John Lyndon; Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) performing live onstage at Randy's Rodeo Nightclub, San Antonio, on final tour
Pistol Anson Boon as John Lyndon; Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) performing live onstage at Randy's Rodeo Nightclub, San Antonio, on final tour

Miya Mizuno/FX; Richard E. Aaron/Redferns Anson Boon as John Lyndon in 'Pistol'; Johnny Rotten (a.k.a. John Lydon) performing live

Trainspotting filmmaker Danny Boyle, who directed Pistol, shares Wallace's mindset about Lydon's antagonism towards the series.

"If you're going to get upset about that, you don't understand the history of the group and the subsequent history post-group," he says. "The discord is fundamental to it — it's part of the energy that Malcolm [McLaren, the Sex Pistols' manager)] clearly wanted to build from. He takes an intemperance, an anger, a kind of resentment, a feeling of a chip on the shoulder, and then it extrapolates from there into the world through the music. And it's what gives the songs such bite, I think."

Boyle adds that this is what made revisiting the band incredible. "The big songs like 'Anarchy...' and 'Pretty Vacant' and 'God Save the Queen,' the bite in those songs, they're nearly fifty years old, and it's like oh my god, you still feel disturbed by feeling that directness in music. Anyway, it's a small price to pay, to be unpopular with John. And I think the portrayal of them, although he'll never admit it, it's done by a bunch of people who think he's a genius, honestly."

Pistol premieres May 31 on Hulu. Watch the trailer below.

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