Sex Pistols Fan Pic to Resurrect the Spirit of '76

Sex Pistols Fan Pic to Resurrect the Spirit of '76
Pistols on fire: (l-r) Paul Cook, Glen Matlock, Johnny Rotten, and Steve Jones
(Nationaal Archief/Wikipedia)

A new movie set early in the British punk rock movement sounds like it will do for Sex Pistols adulation what “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” did for Beatlemania.

Whereas the latter, the first film directed by Robert Zemeckis, followed a group of Beatles fans (and anti-British invasion dissidents) traveling to see the Moptops perform on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in New York in 1964, the untitled punk drama will follow four Pistols devotees hitchhiking to see the Spikytops performing on their notorious Anarchy in the UK tour in December 1976.


The Pistols were supported by the Clash, the Heartbreakers, and briefly the Damned, who were thrown off the tour by the Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren. It was Rat Scabies, the Damned’s drummer, who conceived the new movie with writer-director Wayne Holloway, according to Screen Daily. Holloway recently made his feature debut with the American drag race film, “Snake and Mongoose,” currently in post-production.

The $2.2 million punk picture, financed by the British indie outfit Wellington Films and Zentropa Sweden, will star Paloma Faith in the lead role of Rhino. The 31-year-old platinum-selling pop star and actress previously appeared in “St. Trinian’s,” Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,” and “Dread,” among other films and television shows. She told Screen:

“I wanted to play Rhino instantly because it really rang true to me that people from disadvantaged backgrounds are always expected not to be intellectual, and Rhino, like so many people I am close to, challenges that perception.

“She has balls and she knows what she’s talking about. She’s a special girl and she is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in.”

There’s no word yet if actors will be playing McLaren and his obstreperous charges – Johnny RottenSteve JonesPaul Cook, and Glen Matlock – in the movie. (Sid Vicious didn’t replace Matlock until February 1977, though he could still appear in the film as an ever-present audience member.)

One sincerely hopes the film will honor the Pistols in absentiaGary Oldman as Vicious aside, the band impersonations in Alex Cox’s “Sid and Nancy” left a lot to be desired. As John Lydon knew when he decided to play his old alter ego in 2011’s “Sons of Norway,” Rotten was as inimitable as he was irreducible.