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Interview: Producer/Director Danny Boyle Discusses His New Sex Pistols Series ‘PISTOL’

We recently spoke with producer/director Danny Boyle (TRAINSPOTTING, 127 DAYS, 28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, 127 HOURS) about his new FX/Hulu limited series, PISTOL, which chronicles legendary punk band, the Sex Pistols, and their rise to fame in the UK in the 1970s.

The noted director discussed how important the casting was in a project in which real-life people are being portrayed. “It’s so crucial, said Boyle. “You can’t say to your financial backers, ‘If we can’t cast someone to play [Johnny] Rotten, we’re not going to make it,’ because obviously, they’re spending money. Everybody has to have this leap of faith that you are going to find somebody who can play Rotten or Steve Jones, but especially someone like Rotten who is highly visible and highly contrary and provocative and who’s obviously going to be anti-the program, so it’s a huge issue.”

“I’m mentioning him because he was the most acute piece of casting in a way. When [Anson Boon] walked in the room, you just knew straight away. ‘That’s all I can tell you. I know it’s him you know, and you say to the casting directors, ‘Make sure you don’t lose him.’ There’s an essence you get. Anson is a bit taller than John, and he doesn’t quite look like John but you’re not looking for an anatomical photocopy. What you’re looking for is something that allows you to have two of them in the room at the same time, the real John, with all your research your footage, etc., and Anson. They have slightly different qualities but they’re both feeding each other in a weird way. So, that’s you’re after.”

The series stars Anson Boon (Sex Pistol’s frontman John “Jonny Rotten” Lyndon), Jacob Slater (drummer Paul Cook), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (manager, Malcolm McLaren), Louis Partridge (bass player Sid Vicious), Emma Appleton (Sid’s girlfriend, Nancy Spungen), Sydney Chandler (future Pretenders lead vocalist and guitarist Chrissie Hynde), Talulah Riley (fashion designer Vivienne Westwood), and Maisie Williams (model Pamela “Jordan” Rooke), and was created, written and executive produced by Craig Pearce.

You can watch our full interview with Danny Boyle below.

PISTOL premieres on Hulu on Tuesday, May 31.

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Written by Jeff Heller

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