Pistol cast discuss meeting real-life counterparts

Sydney Chandler says playing guitar with Chrissie Hynde before playing her in Pistol was "the scariest thing in my entire life".

Danny Boyle's six-part drama series traces the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols, while also exploring the burgeoning London punk scene in the late 1970s.

Hynde, who would go on to front The Pretenders, is depicted as a member of staff at SEX — the boutique run by Vivienne Westwood (Talulah Riley) and Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren (Thomas Brodie-Sangster).

Video transcript

TOM BEASLEY: For two of you, the characters you're playing are still around. Did the living people have an input in your performances?

SYDNEY CHANDLER: Yeah, I was able to meet with Chrissie quite a few times. And actually, she had me play guitar with her, which was the scariest thing in my entire life. I was like, I'm still learning please.

But she was really helpful, and kind, and shared so many memories, especially about Syd actually. I learned about so many small things that you couldn't get from anyone else except the the source, and so it was really generous of her to share her thoughts and memories.

TALULAH RILEY: And I got to meet with Vivian before we started filming, which was wonderful. I went to the Vivienne Westwood offices and saw her amongst all her creations. And she was very gracious, very generous with her time, and spoke about that period.

TOM BEASLEY: And Emma, for you, with Nancy, obviously, there's been a lot written about her over the years. There are other portrayals of her. I guess, how much of that were you pulling from? Or were you trying to push as much of it out of the way as you could?

EMMA APPLETON: Yeah, I definitely want to shut out some of that noise, in terms of other interpretations, because I was very aware that this is, hopefully, Nancy that we haven't seen before. But in terms of source material, I did want to get an essence of who Nancy may have been. So I read a book that her mother wrote, which was very important, because I wanted to try and just weave any of that information into the Nancy that we then had on the script.

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