foreign exchange pistol Premiering on Hulu on May 31, it will unveil the Sex Pistols saga for a new generation. The series comes from director Danny Boyle (train guessing) and screenwriter Craig Pierce (Moulin Rouge), based on the memoirs of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones. While it focuses on Jones as he helped build the band and move forward in the new world of punk rock, it naturally explores the fiery and chaotic lives and careers of all the band members.
But it’s not just the Sex Pistols that are loud, proud and determined to succeed. The punk rock world is full of iconoclasts hoping to make their mark on society, and some of these women have to jump over unimaginable hurdles to succeed. These include Chrissie Hynde (Sydney Chandler), founding member of The Pretenders; Vivienne Westwood (Talulah Riley), who created the Kings Road boutique SEX; Pamela Rooke – aka Jordan (Maisie Williams) – Punk icon.
Chandler, Riley and Williams with screen rant About how they approached the fictional version that tells about some very real women, and how their characters better push the boundaries of the time period.
Screen Rant: Maisie, your first scene is amazing, really bold. How does it feel? Is there any release in the ability to play a character who doesn’t care and is always pushing boundaries? As an actor, does it allow you to overcome any fears?
Maisie Williams: Yes, absolutely. I feel like my presence alone, when wearing a Jordan, is enough to make people forget what they came to see or need to avoid their eyes. And that’s not how I used to be popular, so it’s interesting to see how you dress and how it affects the way people communicate with or approach you.
It was an incredible opener for Jordan. But that’s what she did; she’d take the train and they’d take her first class because people were horrible to her. People would be so confrontational and angry with her and they wanted to protect her because she took the train to work every day. An incredible opening, but historically accurate. She is an incredible woman.
The three of you push boundaries in your own way on the show, and that’s not always female-friendly. Vivienne Westwood has a great scene where she yells at Malcolm that she wants to raze the city to the ground. Although Chrissie is a little sane, she’s the one who looks around and keeps things level. Did you find that after the two of you played these roles, it inspired you to do the same in your own life as well?
Talulah Riley: I do, yes. I think how wonderful it is to be able to play someone like Chrissie, to play a character who has a lot of confidence in himself – really has her own support, being there for herself and believing in herself; just keep pushing and keep going – really for me Very helpful. I like to think that I’ve been able to carry some of it with me.
To be able to create, and then live and maintain, is a very good thing.
Sydney Chandler: I really admire Vivian’s work ethic. You see her every day at home, she’s raising two kids, she’s making everything that’s sold in the store and trying to make Malcolm McLaren’s vision a reality. But she was the one who did all the hard work and all the pressure fell on her.
But it was her life and she did it and made it work. I think that’s why it’s inspiring.
For all three characters, we treat them as a kind of frozen static image because they are a generation ago. Do you think there’s anything more meaningful about bringing these characters to life and making them feel real?
Talulah Riley: We all acknowledge that we do not seek historical accuracy, we tell stories to a certain extent. This is a fictional version of what happened at the time, as it had to be. Just because we’ve been discussing the importance of the responsibility that comes with it — I’ve never played someone who exists in the real world before, so I don’t want to say it’s definitely something Vivienne Westwood or she did.
Maisie Williams: It does feel like we’re trying to find humanity in it. We have a preconceived idea of so many characters and so many relationships, and we’re talking fiction. I think it’s just trying to understand the decision we did know, and what we did witness, and understand what that decision was about. How do you portray a person and give them their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, while weaving parts of the story that we do know to be accurate?
It’s just a search you do as an actor in any role, really.
Talulah Riley: A lot of stuff is written on the page. It’s great to just rely on being an actor because Craig’s done… [Laughs]
Sydney Chandler: Yeah, all the characters are so developed on the page, it gives you a lot to bite into. And then we also have a really great research team for the show, so it’s a really fun part of just diving in and learning.
Talulah Riley: In your opinion, Vivienne Westwood is a huge icon right now. But seeing the archival footage and seeing her and the sex boutique’s origin story? Compared to her grandmother now, the way she spoke then and at the time is fascinating.
Sydney Chandler: Yes. It reminds you that they are only human.
Talulah Riley: And your previous point; they’re just kids, really. with the band and Chrissy.
Sydney Chandler: Yeah, they didn’t know they were going to make it. Do anything. They still move on.
FX’s Pistol is a six-episode limited series about the rock revolution, only available on Hulu. The raging storm at the center of this revolution is the Sex Pistols—and at the center of the series is Sex Pistols founding member and guitarist Steve Jones. Jones’ hilarious, emotional, and sometimes heartbreaking journey guides us through a kaleidoscope of three of the most epic, chaotic, and goo-splattered years in music history.
Adapted from Jones’ memoir Lonely Boy: A Sex Pistol Story, it tells the story of a group of disorganized, rowdy working-class kids with “no future” who shake up a boring, corrupt system, threatening to bring overthrow of the government and Changed music and culture forever.
Check back soon for the rest of our interviews with the cast and crew pistol.
foreign exchange pistol Premieres exclusively on Hulu on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.
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