'Pistol' cast reveal 'very chaotic' experience of filming live 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 in sweaty performances on set, channelling the real anarchy of the band's intense, short-lived reign at the summit of the music business.

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

Video transcript

TOM BEASLEY: From what I hear, you were all performing live for real.

ANSON BOON: They had these cans made of sponge. And the Sex Pistols used to get a lot of things thrown at them, particularly in America. And I remember things like when we shot the Longhorn gig-- so that's set in Longhorn in Texas, but we actually shot it in New Cross near Peckham. And I remember just being pelted with these sponge cans.

And they don't hurt, you know. it doesn't-- imagine a sponge hitting you. It doesn't hurt at all. 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 particularly to sing, and you get a sponge can whack you in the face, it's like, whoa, wasn't expecting that. So it was very chaotic, definitely.

LOUIS PARTRIDGE: I forgot about the throwing.

ANSON BOON: Yeah, a lot of throwing. Danny would tell them to throw things at us and not tell us.

LOUIS PARTRIDGE: Yeah.

ANSON BOON: It wasn't dangerous because they were made of sponge.

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

JACOB SLATER: Yeah, most of them were made of sponge.

TALULAH RILEY: I think the boys are going to find it quite difficult to transition to not being rock stars anymore.

[LAUGHTER]

It's gonna suck for them.

SYDNEY CHANDLER: Yeah, I think they really liked it.

TOM BEASLEY: That's it. They're not gonna have crowds of people cheering for them.

TALULAH RILEY: Yeah, exactly. Screaming in adoration.

TOM BEASLEY: Well, I was just speaking to the girls, and I don't want to stir anything, but they said that you guys would struggle to adjust to not being rock stars anymore.

LOUIS PARTRIDGE: I knew they were gonna say that. They keep dobbing us.

ANSON BOON: Yeah, they do.

LOUIS PARTRIDGE: We should turn the tables. They've had their own-- they've got their own--

ANSON BOON: Everywhere we go, they leave a trail of dirt on us. What can we say about them?

LOUIS PARTRIDGE: [INAUDIBLE]

JACOB SLATER: No, those guys never put a foot wrong, did they? So we can't.

LOUIS PARTRIDGE: No, yeah. Well I mean--

ANSON BOON: Listen, if we went a bit method, we went a bit method. We're not the first to do it. We just have fun.

LOUIS PARTRIDGE: Yeah. And I think it was encouraged up to a point. I think we were given the space to-- to, you know, have our fun.

JACOB SLATER: I was just the drummer as well, so I never really [INAUDIBLE].

[LAUGHTER]

ANSON BOON: Just the drummer?

[INTERPOSING VOICES]

JACOB SLATER: Yeah, this is my "get out of jail free" card when it comes to being a [INAUDIBLE]

TOM BEASLEY: I suppose that meant that you got to hide behind the drum kit from all the cans as well.

JACOB SLATER: Yeah, definitely. I had a couple of cymbals up, so I'd [INAUDIBLE].

ANSON BOON: Yeah, he didn't get it bad.

JACOB SLATER: No. Actually, some of them, I was kind of picking them up and then throwing them at the band, so--

[LAUGHTER]

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