'Pistol' cast reveal 'very chaotic' experience of filming live gig scenes (exclusive)

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·3 min read

Watch: Pistol cast reflect on experience of filming gig scenes

Anson Boon says it was 'very chaotic' when he took to the stage as Johnny Rotten in Danny Boyle's Sex Pistols drama Pistol.

The actors playing the 1970s punk band performed for real on set, channelling the real anarchy of the band's intense, short-lived reign at the summit of the music business.

Boon told Yahoo that this atmosphere extended to the band being pelted with debris, particularly when shooting the Pistols' ill-fated tour of America.

Read more: Pistol and other movies and TV coming to Disney+ in May 2022

"They had these cans made of sponge. The Sex Pistols used to get a lot of things thrown at them, particularly in America," said Boon.

Anson Boon portrays Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten in Pistol. (Disney)
Anson Boon portrays Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten in Pistol. (Disney)

The sense of realism was enhanced further by the fact that Boyle and his team shot the action with cameras that were hidden from the cast.

Boon added: "I remember just being pelted with these sponge cans. They don't hurt, but when you're so in the zone and you can't see any cameras and you're in the middle of Holidays in the Sun, which is one of the more difficult songs to sing, and then you get a sponge can whack you in the face it's like 'whoa, I wasn't expecting that'.

SAN FRANCISCO - 1978:  L-R Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols perform live at The Winterland Ballroom in 1978 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Richard McCaffrey/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)
Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols perform live at The Winterland Ballroom in 1978 in San Francisco, California. (Richard McCaffrey/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)

"So it was very chaotic definitely. A lot of throwing. Danny would tell them to throw things at us and not tell us."

Talulah Riley, who plays fashion icon Vivienne Westwood in the show, said that the "very immersive" atmosphere of the gig scenes helped the cast convey the 70s feel.

The team behind Pistol went to great lengths to make the gig scenes feel as authentic as possible. (Disney)
The team behind Pistol went to great lengths to make the gig scenes feel as authentic as possible. (Disney)

"It was really like being at a gig. The boys were playing live. Minus the fact we were drinking ginger beer not alcohol, it was just like being at a concert," said Riley.

Read more: John Lydon dismisses Pistol as a "middle class fantasy"

Sydney Chandler was also at the gigs, playing future Pretenders star Chrissie Hynde, and described the filming experience as "freeing".

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 01:  USA  Photo of Steve JONES and SEX PISTOLS and Johnny ROTTEN and Sid VICIOUS, Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), Sid Vicious, Steve Jones & Paul Cook, posed, group shot, next to the tourbus, on final tour  (Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)
Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), Sid Vicious, Steve Jones & Paul Cook on final tour in America. (Richard E. Aaron/Redferns)

She added: "I think all of us forgot that we were filming at one point or another and were just enjoying the music.

"[The band] were enjoying it so much too and we were all enjoying it and the supporting artists were really incredible at creating that atmosphere as well."

Pistol depicts the meteoric rise and shocking fall of the Sex Pistols during the late 1970s. (Disney)
Pistol depicts the meteoric rise and shocking fall of the Sex Pistols during the late 1970s. (Disney)

Riley added that there might be a tough transition for Boon and his co-stars now that they have to put away the safety pins and instruments.

She said: "I think the boys are going to find it quite hard to transition to not being rock stars any more. That's gonna suck for them."

Read more: John Lydon speaks out against Queen's English

Boon is not so sure. "Listen if we went a bit method, we went a bit method. We're not the first to do it. We just have fun."

All six episodes of Pistol will be available to stream on Disney+ from 31 May.

Watch: Trailer for Pistol

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