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Sex Pistols biopic filming is shut down after a Covid outbreak sparked by mosh pit scenes


Filming of Danny Boyle’s new Sex Pistols series has been shut down due to a Covid outbreak.

The six-episode series, which began principal photography in March, will focus on the iconic punk band during their heyday in the late 1970s, and stars Anson Boon as the group’s frontman Johnny Rotten.

It’s thought that indoor scenes featuring a ‘mosh pit’ with hundreds of people packed together may have sparked the outbreak, with cast and crew informed filming has been temporarily halted.

Drama: Filming of Danny Boyle’s new Sex Pistols series has been shut down due to a Covid outbreak (Louis Partridge is pictured in character as Sid Vicious)

Extras who were due to take part in a crowd scene this week have since been told to avoid using public transport to prevent a further spread of the virus.

Cast and crew were each sent an email from a health and safety officer assigned to the set warning them about the Covid outbreak.

The email said: ‘We have had more reports of positive cases and so have decided to cancel walk-in testing tomorrow to avoid any potential spread via public transport.

‘I am very sorry for the sudden change of plans and any inconvenience this may have caused, as you can understand this is an evolving situation and I would like to reassure you that we have now shut down filming.’

On hold: The six-episode series, which began principal photography in March, has been paused after it's thought filming for a mosh pit scene caused the outbreak

On hold: The six-episode series, which began principal photography in March, has been paused after it’s thought filming for a mosh pit scene caused the outbreak

Coming soon: The drama will focus on the band's rise to fame in the late 1970s, shocking the establishment with their wild behaviour (pictured in 1977)

Coming soon: The drama will focus on the band’s rise to fame in the late 1970s, shocking the establishment with their wild behaviour (pictured in 1977) 

One crew member told MailOnline that recent ‘mosh pit’ scene where hundreds of extras were packed into a concert venue could have led to the spread of the virus.

MailOnline has contacted representatives for FX and Danny Boyle for comment. 

Sex Pistol concerts always featured fans packed tightly together and ‘pogoing’ up and down to the songs such as Anarchy in the UK and Pretty Vacant.

The Sex Pistols series is being made for the US based FX TV Channel, part of the Disney network. 

Based on guitarist Steve Jones’ 2018 memoir Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, the supporting cast also includes Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde and Emma Appleton as Nancy Spungen.

Offering a fascinating new perspective on one of rock’s greatest ever stories, Pistol moves from West London’s council estates, to Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s notorious Kings Road SEX shop, to the international controversy that came with the release of Pistols album Never Mind the B******s.

Stay at home: Extras who were due to take part in a crowd scene this week have since been told to avoid using public transport to prevent a further spread of the virus

Stay at home: Extras who were due to take part in a crowd scene this week have since been told to avoid using public transport to prevent a further spread of the virus

Their single God Save the Queen was banned by the BBC and reached Number 1 on the UK’s NME chart, but appeared at Number 2 on the Official UK Singles chart, leading to accusations that the song was purposely kept off the top spot.

Director Danny Boyle has had an acclaimed TV and movie career, with his 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire being nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won eight, including the Academy Award for Best Director. 

In 2012, the filmmaker was the artistic director for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. He was subsequently offered a knighthood as part of the New Year Honours but declined.

In January, Nick Grad, President, Original Programming, FX Entertainment, said in a statement: ‘It’s great to be back in business with Danny Boyle, an exceptional artist responsible for so many great feature films and TV series.’

He added: ‘Steve Jones was at the centre of the storm that shook the rock establishment and we’re thrilled to have Danny and the rest of the creative team tell his story as a member of one of music’s most notorious bands – the Sex Pistols.’   

‘Imagine breaking into the world of The Crown and Downton Abbey with your mates and screaming your songs and your fury at all they represent,’ added Danny. ‘This is the moment that British society and culture changed forever.’

Starring role: The supporting cast also includes Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams as punk icon Jordan

Famous: Jordan pictured in 1977

Starring role: The supporting cast includes Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams (L) as punk icon Jordan (R in 1977)

‘It is the detonation point for British street culture…where ordinary young people had the stage and vented their fury and their fashion…and everyone had to watch & listen…and everyone feared them or followed them.’

‘The Sex Pistols. At its centre was a young charming illiterate kleptomaniac – a hero for the times – Steve Jones, who became in his own words, the 94th greatest guitarist of all time. This is how he got there.’

The actors who play band members Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Steve Jones and Paul Cook from the infamous punk band have been filming across London since March.

Exciting: Iris Law will follow in her father Jude's acting footsteps by making her screen debut as Soo Catwoman in Danny's Pistols drama

Iconic look: Soo Lucas, who dubbed herself Soo Catwoman, is known for her trademark haircut which she created in 1976 to look like she had cat ears

Exciting: Iris Law (L) will follow in her father Jude’s acting footsteps by making her screen debut as Soo Catwoman (R) in the Sex Pistols drama

Scenes recreated have included the group outside Buckingham Palace when they attempted to promote God Save Queen, and the ‘winter of discontent’ when refuse collectors went on strike and bin bags piled up in the streets. 

Lead singer Johnny Rotten is played by actor Ansoon Boon while Sid Vicious is being played by Louis Partridge. Jacob Cook takes on the role of drummer Paul Cook while Toby Wallace plays Jones.

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams is almost unrecognisable as model Pamela Rooke, whose signature style of ripped fishnets, dominatrix heels and raccoon-like eye make-up came to define the era of punk music.

Boyle has described the Sex Pistols emergence in the mid-70s as the moment that British society and culture changed for ever. 

Multiple film shoots in the UK have been disrupted by Covid outbreaks, the most recent of the Star Wars spin off Andor.

Two crew members tested positive and their close contacts, about 16 people, had to go into self isolation.

Last year actor Robert Pattinson, who plays the lead role in the new Batman film, had to go into self-isolation after testing positive for Covid last September.

Production on the £100m movie was shut down just days after it had resumed following the relaxation of lockdown rules.

And production of Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 7 has also been disrupted after crew members tested positive for the virus. 

Portrayal: A first look image for the TV series, which is based on the memoir of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, was revealed following the casting announcement

Portrayal: A first look image for the TV series, which is based on the memoir of Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, was revealed following the casting announcement



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