Watch: Pistol cast discuss meeting real-life counterparts
Sydney Chandler says playing guitar with Chrissie Hynde before playing her in Pistol was 'the scariest thing in my entire life'.
Danny Boyle's six-part drama series traces the rise and fall of the Sex Pistols, while also exploring the burgeoning London punk scene in the late 1970s.
Hynde, who would go on to front The Pretenders, is depicted as a member of staff at SEX — the boutique run by Vivienne Westwood (Talulah Riley) and Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren (Thomas Brodie-Sangster).
Chandler and Riley were able to meet with their real-life counterparts ahead of filming on the series, which took place amid COVID-19 restrictions last year, and even play music with them.
"I was able to meet with Chrissie quite a few times. She had me play guitar with her, which was the scariest thing in my entire life," Chandler told Yahoo.
"She was really helpful and kind and shared so many memories, especially about [Pistols bassist Sid Vicious] actually.
"I learned about so many small things that you couldn't get from anyone else except the source. So it was really generous of her to share her thoughts and her memories."
Riley, meanwhile, said it was "wonderful" to be able to meet Westwood, who is now an undisputed icon of British fashion.
She added: "I went to the Vivienne Westwood offices and saw her amongst all her creations. She was very gracious, very generous with her time and spoke about that period."
Obviously, access to the real-life inspiration for her character was not something that was available to Emma Appleton, who appears in Pistol as Nancy Spungen — Sid Vicious's girlfriend, who died in 1978.
Spungen has been portrayed several times on screen before, most famously by Chloe Webb opposite Gary Oldman in Alex Cox's 1986 movie Sid and Nancy.
"I definitely wanted to shut out some of that noise in terms of other interpretations because I was very aware that this is hopefully a Nancy that we haven't seen before," said Appleton.
"But in terms of source material, I did want to get an essence of who Nancy may have been. I read a book that her mother wrote, which was very important because I wanted to try to weave any of that information into the Nancy we then had in the script."
Based on the memoirs of Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, the show is destined to be controversial for its depiction of the band, with frontman John Lydon already critical of it as a "middle class fantasy".
Read more: New on Disney+ in May 2022
Lydon had previously launched unsuccessful legal action in an attempt to prevent the music of the Sex Pistols from appearing in the show.
Toby Wallace plays Jones in the series, alongside Anson Boon as Lydon and Jacob Slater as drummer Paul Cook, alongside Louis Partridge as Vicious.
Pistol is available to stream in its entirety on Disney+ from 31 May.
Watch: Trailer for Disney+ series Pistol