Why Pistol Director Danny Boyle Says Singer John Lydon's Criticism Is A “Small Price to Pay”

Director Danny Boyle has responded to Sex Pistols icon John Lydon's critique of Hulu's Pistol, based on the punk-rock band.

By Jillian Fabiano May 27, 2022 7:51 PMTags
Watch: Bridgerton, Euphoria & More! Favorite Binge-Worthy TV Shows

Former Sex Pistols front man John Lydon has made it abundantly clear he isn't a fan of Hulu's Pistol. But director Danny Boyle is unphased.

Lydon—better known as "Johnny Rotten"—saw images from the series about his punk rock band last year. He told The Sunday Times that it was the "most disrespectful s––t I've ever had to endure."

And now, Boyle is speaking out about the matter. His thoughts? Lydon's disapproval is "a small price to pay."

Lydon previously tried to block Hulu from using the Sex Pistols' music in the show but was unsuccessful since Pistols' guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook wanted the songs to be included. 

"If you're going to get upset about that, you don't understand the history of the group and the subsequent history post-group," the director told Entertainment Weekly. "The discord is fundamental to it. [Sex Pistols' manager, Malcolm McLaren] takes an intemperance, an anger, a kind of resentment, a feeling of a chip on the shoulder, and then it extrapolates from there into the world through the music. And it's what gives the songs such bite."

Lydon—the band's lead singer during its 1970s heyday—previously tried to block Hulu from using the Sex Pistols' music in the show. He was unsuccessful because Pistols' guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook wanted the songs to be included. 

2022 TV Premiere Dates

Boyle shared why it was special to use the music.

"The big songs like "Anarchy..." and "Pretty Vacant" and "God Save the Queen," the bite in those songs, they're nearly fifty years old, and it's like oh my god, you still feel disturbed by feeling that directness in music."

He continued, "Anyway, it's a small price to pay, to be unpopular with John. And I think the portrayal of them, although he'll never admit it, it's done by a bunch of people who think he's a genius, honestly."


Pistol stars Maisie Williams, Dylan Llewellyn, Louis Partridge, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Anson Boon and Toby Wallace.

Watch the FX series when it premieres May 31 on Hulu. 

Latest News