Danny Boyle’s much-anticipated FX Sex Pistols biopic Pistol has run into the moshpit of a band at war, as it has emerged that John Lydon (better known by his stage name Johnny Rotten) wants to block use of the band’s music in the series.
Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook have taken Lydon to the High Court in London in a bid to resolve the dispute. Jones and Cook are in favor of the music featuring the in the series, which is based on the former’s memoir Lonely Boy: Tales From A Sex Pistol.
But Lydon is being typically pugnacious in his position, exposing the bitter and fractious relationship between a band that helped usher in a punk revolution in Britain in the 1970s. On the first day of the high court hearing yesterday, Lydon’s attorney argued the series is “disrespectful” and Jones’ book paints him “in a hostile and unflattering light.”
Lydon’s view is that the Sex Pistols’ songs can’t be used without his blessing. Jones and Cook contend that decisions on licensing requests, like the one that would be central to the FX series, can be determined by a majority of band members.
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According to reports, the court heard that Jones and Cook enjoy the support of Glen Matlock, the Sex Pistols’ original bassist, and the estate of Sid Vicious. Vicious replaced Matlock in the band but died in 1979 at the age of just 21. The case continues next week.
Deadline has contacted FX for comment. It is unclear whether Pistol can proceed if Lydon is successful in the legal battle with his former bandmates. The court heard he has previously vetoed the use of God Save The Queen in Netflix series The Crown.
Boyle is directing and executive producing the six-part series, which features Babyteeth actor Toby Wallace as Jones and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams as punk icon Jordan. Anson Boon (Crawl) plays John Lydon.
Produced by FX Productions, Pistol moves from West London’s council estates to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s notorious Kings Road SEX shop to the international controversy that came with the release of Never Mind the Bollocks, which was banned by the BBC and frequently is listed as one of the most influential albums of all time.
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