Chanelling all the rebellious vigour of Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious, actors Anson Boon and Louis Partridge make the perfect punk rock duo as they snarl for a selfie. Their transformation into the infamous anarchic rockers for Danny Boyle’s latest project Pistols is remarkable – and a wild departure from when the polite young gents first met on a shoot for Tatler’s Young Brits in Hollywood.
Behind-the-scenes pictures of the FX show, which is an adaptation of former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones’s diary, reveal the true extent of their makeover; unkempt spikey hair and hollow eyes, puffing on cigarettes and swigging from cans of red stripe in doorways of South London, just a stone’s throw from where Alleyn’s alumni Louis grew up.
Yet when the Tatler feature was published in February 2020, the most shocking rock’n’roll misdemeanour schoolboy Louis had committed was sipping an underage G&T at the wrap party for his last big role in Netflix hit Enola Holmes, in which he starred opposite Millie Bobby Brown and Helena Bonham-Carter. ‘I got told off by security,’ he blushed.
Anson, meanwhile, revealed his inner rebel in the portfolio, which featured some of the brightest future stars in the industry, when he told how he and his friends all got matching Blackbird tattoos at a house party. His friends being Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet. ‘I’ve got the bug now, I’m thinking how do I get another tattoo, but my mum told me to wait,’ he admitted.
The six-part series, which features an all star cast of Games of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, Iris Law and Elon Musk’s ex Talulah Riley, is a new insight into the behind-the-scenes world of the anti-establishment band, covering West London council estates to band manager Malcolm McLaren’s notorious Kings Road SEX shop, which he ran with Vivienne Westwood.
Louis plays ill-fated Vicious, aka Simon John Ritchie. Vicious died of a heroin overdose in 1979 when he was 21, while awaiting trial for the murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, played by Witcher actress Emma Appleton. The 21-year-old told Tatler about his method of immersing himself into his role: ‘Getting involved in the story and music really helps me – I feel they are all intertwined. When I am there [on set] I just want to do it and forget about everything else and there are not many things that make me do that.’
The role of John Lydon is the latest in a series of prestigious career moves for Anson, who starred in Bafta-winning 1917, The Winter Lake and Sulphur and White. With his parents keeping his feet on the ground by making him do the ironing, and Susan Sarandon as his mentor on call, the Oscars are a dream that is becoming closer to reality. ‘Susan’s best advice is don’t get caught up with it all, it’s just a job. And take it in your stride. People will always give their versions of what they think you are as if they are you, but always just be true to yourself and be Anson.
‘One day, for my mum and dad and everyone who helped me along the way, I’d love to stand on the Oscars stage and give something back to them. And also you get nice suits.’
Pistols will be released on FX and Hulu in 2022.
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