John Lydon has long been an outspoken opponent of Danny Boyle’s upcoming Sex Pistols series, but his criticisms haven’t hurt the director. In an interview with The Guardian, Boyle took the artist’s critiques in stride, proclaiming, “I don’t want him to like [Pistol] — I want him to attack it.”
Last year, Lydon attempted to block Boyle from using the Sex Pistols’ music in Pistol, the six-part series detailing the band’s whirlwind rise and fall. However, his former bandmates, guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook, countersued, ultimately allowing the band’s catalog to be featured in the show.
Soon after, Lydon proclaimed that the series, which is based on Jones’ memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales From a Sex Pistol, would “water down” the Sex Pistols’ legacy, and complained that his Very Important Opinion as the band’s frontman was ignored in the making of the show.
Surprisingly, Boyle didn’t disagree about Lydon’s importance in the band. “Oh, he’s the genius,” the director told The Guardian. “I mean, obviously, you can’t make a series about him because he’s unmanageable. Everyone knows that. So to get this book from Steve is like a side door in. It allows you to look at the whole group. But you have to acknowledge there’s a genius in there and it’s Rotten. He’s the person that changed everything, a key cultural figure in our landscape.”
This is why Boyle has taken the “unmanageable” singer’s attacks in stride. “I love Lydon for what he does and I don’t want him to like it — I want him to attack it,” he explained. “I think that’s his absolute right. Why would you change the habit of a lifetime?”
Lydon can officially attack Pistol when it premieres on Hulu on May 31st. Anson Boon had the privilege of portraying the frontman, while Toby Wallace plays Jones, Jacob Slater portrays Cook, Louis Partridge plays Sid Vicious, and Christian Lees portrays original bassist Glen Matlock. Rounding out the cast are Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Malcolm McLaren, Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde, Talulah Riley as Vivienne Westwood, Maisie Williams as punk icon Jordan, and Emma Appleton as Nancy Spungen. Watch the extended trailer for the series here.