Five minutes with... Anson Boon, Pistol star, Spurs fan
Wed 01 June 2022, 14:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Anson Boon, 22, is earning rave reviews for his performance as the Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten in Danny Boyle’s Pistol, a six-part series released on Disney+ on Tuesday. He’s also a lifelong Spurs fan, and a regular both home and away...
Based out of Cambridgeshire, Anson starred alongside Hollywood royalty Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet and Sam Neill in the film Blackbird in 2019, when he was also in Sam Mendes’ Oscar-winning First World War epic, 1917. He prepared for his role in Pistol for the best part of two years.
How are you today, Anson?
Anson: “I never get asked that! I’m fantastic. We’re talking the day before Pistol comes out and life is going a bit crazy, in the best way! There’s a lot going on. Johnny Rotten’s just been on This Morning… he’s not seen the show yet, but I was delighted to see him announce that he will watch it. I’m really excited for him to see it.”
Tell everyone about Pistol...
Anson: “Pistol is the story of five working class lads who had no prospects and no future - as they went on to sing about. They chased their dream against all the odds and revolutionised music, fashion and culture forever. It’s really the story of the underdog winning. It’s told through the book of Steve Jones, the guitarist (Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol) which is a fantastic way into this band, and tells you the origins of Vivienne Westwood, the punk movement and the Sex Pistols - all directed by Danny Boyle.”
You’ve been ‘Johnny Rotten’ for a year - how do you snap out of character?
Anson: “One of the best parts about playing this character was that it was a big leap for me to find it. Sometimes, you can step sideways into a character because you share a lot of similarities. I didn’t have that with Johnny Rotten. I would spend an hour-and-a-half in hair and make-up every morning being sculpted to look more like him, I’d always have a wig on, clothes that were so different to what I would wear in ‘normal’ life, I had fake teeth and an accent. The way we shot it was so chaotic, I could hardly ever see a camera, so I would forget I was an actor playing a character, I’d just feel like Johnny Rotten. At the end of the day, when I removed all of those masks, I could completely relax. I should add, the most special part about this show, for me, is that every musical performance you watch is actually live, recorded and played by us, the actors. There was no pre-recording, no editing in post-production, Danny Boyle’s thing about the Sex Pistols was that they were ‘perfectly imperfect’ and you shouldn’t clean that up. We wanted all the lumps and bumps of live performance and when you watch it, it will feel like you are watching a live performance.”
What is your Spurs story?
Anson: “It actually starts a little later than most. I found my real love for Spurs slightly later in life. Growing up, my relationship with football was more local, I’d go more to my local club, Peterborough United, that’s what loads of school friends would do, plus my dad and brother are both Peterborough United fans. In my later teenage years, I really got into the Premier League through friends, and I’d always been aware of a rich history of Spurs in my family. One half of my family, my mum’s side, are all from Tottenham. In fact, my last great aunt, who still lived on White Hart Lane, only passed away a couple of months ago. One side of my family bleeds Tottenham. They are a proper north London family so, of course, half are Spurs, half are Arsenal! That’s what happens. If there was ever a Premier League club I was going to go to, it would always have been Spurs because of that rich Tottenham history in my family.”
What is your favourite all-time Spurs shirt?
Anson: “I’ve got it in my room, actually. It’s the Umbro/Holsten 1991, the badge with the cockerel and ball and the two lions, then the ‘Audere est Facere’ motif in a yellow scroll. I love it - cool collar, one button at the top.”
Have you ever cried at a Spurs match?
Anson: “When I watched Ajax away (Champions League semi-final, second leg, 2019). I remember reacting so intensively that my brother, who is also a huge football fan, wouldn’t even stay in the same room as me. It was so overwhelming. That has to be my most emotional Spurs moment.”
Who is your Spurs hero?
Anson: “That’s easy, Paul Gascoigne. I just loved the way Gazza played, he’s one of my favourite footballers of all time. I went through a phase of watching all his goals on You Tube all the time. My favourite goal is obviously the free-kick in the FA Cup semi-final (1991) against Arsenal. I just love Gazza.”
Finally, what are you up to for the rest of the day?
Anson: “Reading scripts, doing interviews and gearing up for the big release of Pistol. I’ve no Spurs matches to take my mind of work!”
We spoke to Anson on Monday...
Pistol is available now on Disney+