Pistol is a six-episode limited series about a rock and roll revolution, available exclusively on Hulu. It follows Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and the band’s rise to prominence and notoriety. The series is based on Jones’ memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol. Jones’ hilarious, emotional and at times heart-breaking journey guides us through a kaleidoscopic telling of three of the most epic and chaotic years in the history of music.
Without the Sex Pistols there would be no punk. And without Steve Jones there would be no Sex Pistols. It was Steve who, with his schoolmate Paul Cook, formed the band that eventually went on to become the Sex Pistols and who was its original leader. As the world celebrates the 40th anniversary of punk — the influence and cultural significance of which is felt in music, fashion, and the visual arts to this day–Steve tells his story for the very first time.
In Lonely Boy, Steve describes the sadness of never having known his real dad, the abuse he suffered at the hands of his stepfather, and how his interest in music and fashion saved him from a potential life of crime spent in remand centers and prisons. He takes readers on his journey from the Kings Road of the early ’70s through the years of the Sex Pistols, punk rock, and the recording of “Anarchy in the UK” and Never Mind the Bollocks. He recounts his infamous confrontation on Bill Grundy’s Today program — the interview that ushered in the “Filth and the Fury” headlines that catapulted punk into the national consciousness. And he delves into the details of his self-imposed exile in New York and Los Angeles, where he battled alcohol, heroin, and sex addiction but eventually emerged to gain fresh acclaim as an actor and radio host.
Lonely Boy is the story of an unlikely guitar hero who, with the Sex Pistols, transformed twentieth-century culture and kick-started a social revolution.
Director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) brings ‘Pistol’ to screens starring Toby Wallace as Steve Jones, Anson Boon as John Lydon, Christian Lees as Glen Matlock, Louis Partridge as Sid Vicious, Jacob Slater as Paul Cook, Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde, Talulah Riley as Vivienne Westwood, Maisie Williams as punk icon Jordan, Emma Appleton as Nancy Spungen and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Malcolm McLaren.
“Malcolm’s direction was always to challenge the order of things,” Boyle says. “That was part of the journey. From chaos came creativity, and how we created this, that’s what we hope to achieve. Culture should always do that, it should always challenge the order of things.”
Boyle added he did try to reach out to Lydon, the lead vocalist of the Sex Pistols, to see if he wanted to participate but he couldn’t get past the manager. “I hope he does watch this and realize, especially in Anson (who plays Lydon), how much we love his work, the Oscar Wilde in him.”
In 2021, while the series was still in production, Sex Pistols frontman, John Lydon criticized the series, branding it as “The most disrespectful shit I’ve ever had to endure”. Shortly after, Lydon had filed a lawsuit against former bandmates Steve Jones, Paul Cook, Glen Matlock and the estate of Sid Vicious, in order to stop the Sex Pistols music from being used in the series. On August 23, 2021, it was revealed that Lydon had lost the legal battle and the Sex Pistols music was allowed to be used in the series.
All six episodes of Pistol will debut exclusively on Hulu on May 31, 2022.