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Johnny Rotten actor hopes singer sees his performance comes from ‘place of love’

Anson Boon arriving for the premiere of Pistol (Ian West/PA)
Anson Boon arriving for the premiere of Pistol (Ian West/PA)

Anson Boon has said his performance as John Lydon in Danny Boyle’s TV series about the Sex Pistols came from “a place of love” and he hopes the former punk frontman can see that.

Lydon, also known by his stage name Johnny Rotten, fought a high-profile court battle against the rest of the band in a bid to stop their songs being used in the Disney+ show.

Created by Craig Pearce and written by Pearce and Frank Cottrell Boyce, Pistol is based on guitarist Steve Jones’ memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol.

Premiere of Pistol – London
Danny Boyle (Ian West/PA)

Speaking at its premiere in London’s Leicester Square, Boon told the PA news agency: “I am massively disappointed that I wasn’t able to meet John. It would have been the icing on the cake for me with this job.

“But at the end of the day, like I said, I am a fan of his, and it is such a shame that he chose not to be involved. We would have loved for him to be involved. And everyone would have loved his contributions.

“But I was lucky enough to meet with Steve Jones, Paul Cook, Glen Matlock, Chrissie Hynde – and the one consistent thing amongst them all is that they hold John’s contributions to the band and to music as a whole in the highest regard.

“Truthfully, everyone and every decision on this towards John has come from a place of love, and that is what I am really pleased about – and I hope he can see that in my performance when he watches it.”

Boon said he had read the 66-year-old’s three books as part of his research for the role and became “such an admirer of him”.

Premiere of Pistol – London
Maisie Williams (Ian West/PA)

He added: “So the important thing for me filling these shoes authentically and effectively was to be honest about how much of a fan I am of him.”

Last year, members of the Sex Pistols were embroiled in a High Court legal battle over the punk band’s songs being used in the television series.

Ex-drummer Cook and guitarist Jones sued the group’s former frontman, Lydon, to allow their music to be used in the TV drama.

In a ruling, Sir Anthony Mann found they were entitled to invoke “majority voting rules” against the ex-singer in relation to the use of Sex Pistols material in the series, under the terms of a band member agreement (BMA).

Game Of Thrones actress Maisie Williams also stars in the series, as punk model Jordan, real name Pamela Rooke, who was known for her work with fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Premiere of Pistol – London
(left to right) Steve Jones, Chrissie Hynde, Jeni Cook and Paul Cook arriving for the premiere of Pistol (Ian West/PA)

She said she had been in constant contact with Rooke, who died in April aged 66, during filming.

“I was lucky enough to be able to call and text and chat with Jordan frequently and she had full autonomy and control over my wig, my make-up, my costume,” she said.

“The way I spoke, the way I held myself, the way I conducted a room.

“And so for me, although playing someone who is known by a lot of people does have its pressure, there was really only one person that I wanted to care and love it. And she did. She was very happy with it.”

Boyle, whose previous films include Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire, was director and executive producer on the project.

Pistol will premiere on streaming service Disney+ on May 31.

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