In a show about the Sex Pistols, it’s impossible to avoid talking about the tragic romance between Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Emma Appleton, who plays Nancy, and she admitted that Pistol “massively” changed her view of Sid and Nancy’s doomed relationship.
“I didn’t know a lot about them beforehand, but I’d just heard the name Sid and Nancy because they’re very infamous in popular culture and what they were at that time. But I think this was about who were they as people, getting to the core of their personalities, and just kind of fleshing them out a bit more and what their relationship was and just humanizing them because I don’t think that’s necessarily been done in the way that we’ve done it,” Emma told HollywoodLife.
Sid Vicious was the bassist for the punk rock band Sex Pistols when he met Nancy Spungen. Their romance was chaotic from the start, with both of them suffering from substance abuse problems. After the Sex Pistols disbanded, Sid and Nancy’s relationship spiraled.
Things took a tragic turn on October 11, 1978. Nancy was found dead in a bathroom at the Chelsea Hotel the next morning after being stabbed in the stomach. She was 20 years old. Sid initially admitted that he killed Nancy before recanting his statement. He was eventually sent to Rikers Island for enforced detoxification. On February 2, 1979, just one day after he was released from Rikers, Sid died from a drug overdose. He was 21.
To this day, Nancy’s murder remains a mystery. Over the years, Sid and Nancy’s relationship has almost taken on a mythic quality. In the series, Louis Partridge portrays the rocker.
“It was funny when we first met at the read-through because he looked at both of us and went, ‘Okay, they’ve got us playing Sid and Nancy? Are they sure? We just look nothing like them,’” Emma said about the first time she met Louis. “Turns out, that doesn’t matter. You don’t need to look like the actual people because I think we were so excited to inhabit these roles, really get to know them, and create chemistry, again, that we perhaps haven’t seen. I think something that was really important to us was having the vulnerabilities of them being very young, basically teenagers, and having lived quite a life already and finding those vulnerabilities and those nuances and actually what brought them together. We had the same kind of idea going into it. From there, it was just organic and just so much fun. We could just mess around and not worry too much about getting things wrong.”
Despite being only 20 and 21 when they died, Emma pointed out that both Sid and Nancy “had lived quite a life and we’re in a very adult world, so I think they were treated like adults and seen as adults. Louie actually said, which I think is very accurate, you were a child and then you became an adult in those times. I think now we kind of give a bit more breathing space of being a teenager and being a young adult and figuring it all out, but you just jumped from one to the other back then.” All episodes of Pistol will be released May 31 on Hulu.