Australian actor Toby Wallace stars as Steve Jones, the punk band’s founder and guitarist. “Our singer is fully insane,” Wallace (as Jones) declares in the Youtube teaser for the six-episode limited series, referencing singer John Lydon (better known as Johnny Rotten). “Our bass player starts fights for laughs,” he says of bassist Sid Vicious. “And Steve is a sexual maniac,” quips lead singer Lydon.
The show, produced by FX Productions, will dive into the band’s wild and furious ride through the London music scene in the 1970s. Pistol is based on Jones’ 2016 memoir Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, and will give a 24-month glimpse into the band’s quest for “world domination,” as Lydon’s character puts it. “It’s two years, one album and 12 songs. That’s it,” director Danny Boyle explained to Esquire.
Enlisting up-and-coming actors is a formula that has worked for Boyle before, directing Ewan McGregor in Shallow Grave, Cillian Murphy in the zombie-apocalypse thriller 28 Days Later, and Dev Patel in the rags-to-riches drama Slumdog Millionaire. “There’s an appeal,” Boyle said, to actors who “don’t carry anything yet.”
In addition to Wallace, Pistol stars Anson Boon as Lydon, Christian Lees as first bassist Glen Matlock, Louis Partridge as later bassist Vicious and Jacob Slater as drummer Paul Cook.
When asked what elevates the Sex Pistols above other bands of the era, Wallace said to Interview Magazine, “They weren’t looking to succeed, really. They were there because they loved the music. They were the proof that you could be from any walk of life, and you could get up on stage and make music.” Wallace, in the role of Jones, will be at the center of the storyline throughout the series as he takes a “hilarious, emotional and at times heartbreaking journey” through what creators call “three of the most epic, chaotic and mucus-spattered years in the history of music.”
In the gallery below, we’ve highlighted what we know about each of Pistol’s main cast members and the people they play.