John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon is threatening to sue Danny Boyle over his Sex Pistols miniseries. In a new interview with The Sunday Times, the former Pistols frontman called the decision not to hire him as a consultant “disrespectful.” (Via NME).
The six-episode limited series is entitled Pistol, and is based on Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones’ 2017 memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol. Boyle is directing and executive producing, while Craig Pearce (The Great Gatsby) is credited as creator and co-writer alongside Frank Cottrell-Boyce (24 Hour Party People).
Pistol began filming last month and of course Lydon hasn’t seen it. But that hasn’t stopped him from calling it, “The most disrespectful shit I’ve ever had to endure. I mean, they went to the point to hire an actor to play me but what’s the actor working on?” he said. “Certainly not my character. It can’t go anywhere else [but court].”
It’s unclear what grounds Lydon would have to sue, since it’s not illegal to make television that’s based on a true story. And while Britain has looser libel laws than the United States, it may be hard to prove character defamation for a series that’s based on a book by another member of the Sex Pistols. But Lydon would very much like to receive a check from the production company, please and thank you, and if they won’t hire him as a consultant, he’s willing to bluster about a lawsuit and hope for the best.
“Sorry, you think you can do this, like walk all over me – it isn’t going to happen,” he said. “Not without a huge, enormous fucking fight. I’m Johnny, you know, and when you interfere with my business you’re going to get the bitter end of my business as a result. It’s a disgrace.”
According to a spokesperson for Pistol, Boyle reached out to Lydon’s management, but “ultimately direct contact was declined”. No release date for the series has been set.