TV Talk

Danny Boyle's Nostalgic, Energetic Pistol Is Among FX Previews

FX offers looks at Pistol, Under the Banner of Heaven, and The Old Man. Plus, Will Smith resigns from the academy, Samantha Morton to reprise her Walking Dead role, Feud is revived, new trailers, and more top TV and streaming news.

by | April 1, 2022 | Comments

Danny Boyle is prepared for the slings from Johnny Rotten. Under the Banner of Heaven director Dustin Lance Black discusses the importance of his tale, and The Old Man star Jeff Bridges talks second acts. Plus, the fallout from the Oscar night’s televised altercation continues; trailers for Evil’s third season, The Staircase, and Ozark’s final episodes debut; and more of the biggest TV and streaming news from the past week.


FX’s Pistol Director Danny Boyle Ready for Johnny Rotten’s Criticism


(Photo by Rebecca Brenneman/FX)

According to Pistol director Danny Boyle, who spoke to reporters during an FX press day on Tuesday, there was no way to make a film or show about the legendary punk band The Sex Pistols without receiving derision from its frontman, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten). “[He will] attack this series,” Boyle said. “And we love him for that.” He framed Lydon’s eventual objection to the series when it airs May 31 on Hulu and his previous attempt to prevent it from happening as an example of the human impulse to contradiction, something very much at the core of The Sex Pistols as a band and something he wants to celebrate in the six-episode program.

“Discord is at the heart of the genius of what they did as a group, really, and it has followed them ever since and it will take them to the grave,” Boyle continued. “I hope if [Lydon] does watch the series, that he’ll realize — particularly Anson, I think, but all of us — how much we love his work, really. And in making the series, we have become more and more aware of that, of what he contributed. You know, there really is something of the Oscar Wilde in him or the Brendan Behan, he more appropriately wants to be compared to, that’s very special in culture.”

Actor Anson Boon, who plays Lydon in the series, added: “It might not be the conventional form of talent — because they didn’t go to music school or something like that — but what they did was so unique and so impressive. I was just blown away by it.”

Based on Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, the memoir by Pistols lead guitarist Steve Jones, it charts their conception as, essentially, a working-class-boy band to their eventual dissipation just a few years later. Toby Wallace stars as Jones with Christian Lees as Glen Matlock, Louis Partridge as Sid Vicious, Jacob Slater as Paul Cook, Sydney Chandler as Chrissie Hynde, Talulah Riley as Vivienne Westwood, Maisie Williams as Jordan, Emma Appleton as Nancy Spungen, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Malcolm McLaren.

Boyle credited the band with shaking up the British establishment in a very profound way: “I wouldn’t be here without the Sex Pistols. I am absolutely aware of that. I was lucky … There’s no doubt that this revolution that was created changed many, many people’s paths. And it set people of that age free to express themselves. It gave them value. It reinforced Elvis’s teenage revolution.”

“It is a true privilege to work on this, by the way. Although,” he admitted, “I was a much bigger Clash fan than I was a Sex Pistols fan. But those are details. As Malcolm would have said, ‘Details, my boy, details.’”

Under the Banner of Heaven star Andrew Garfield, other members of the cast, director Dustin Lance Black, and executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer also discussed their upcoming series, premiering April 28 on Hulu, at the FX press day. The program is a fictionalized account of the murder of Brenda Wright Lafferty (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones in the series) and her young daughter in a Utah suburb. As Black explained, the story was partly fictionalized to honor the request of the actual investigators in the 1984 case. “It was one of the dominoes that had to fall,” he explained.

Growing up in the Church of Latter Day Saints, Black felt it was important to not only depict the differences between mainstream Mormonism and the extreme splinter of the faith behind the events, but to also shine a light on what extremism can do. “It’s either a musical comedy, or it’s going to turn to terror and horror,” he said.

Garfield added that he tends to pick roles about questions of faith because “questions of spirituality, questions of faith and doubt, questions of how to live one’s life, questions of the meaning of life, and I think, maybe even more vitally, living on a knife edge between life and death, it’s only there that I think that we start to really get into what we are doing here, what we are doing here in the time between action and cut, what we are doing here in the time when we are breathing and incarnate on this Earth.

“Films and TV shows and stories of spirituality and a questioning faith deal with that very issue of what do we do here while we are alive and how does our comprehension or our belief in what happens after or before, how does that affect how we live here,” he continued. “And I think that just may be the most kind of juicy question that I can ask and I feel kind of compelled to ask as a storyteller and as a creative person and just in my life personally as well.”

Jeff Bridges

(Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)

After his battles with lymphoma and Covid shut down production for nearly 18 months, Jeff Bridges returns in The Old Man. Reflecting on his health crises, the actor said “That year-and-a-half bout with my mortality … in times like that, it seemed that all your philosophies and spirituality and everything that kind of comes to you; it tests you. All of that has been made more mature by that experience. I haven’t felt any different, really. I have always approached life the same way, but this kind of made things sharper.”

Bridges stars as Dan Chase, an ex-CIA operative whose past comes to haunt him after decades of living off the grid. Consequently, it means Bridges had some actions scenes to do. “This one was going to have a lot of physicality to it,” he said, crediting the stunt team and his physical trainer after he got sick for helping him look and feel like an action star. John Lithgow, Amy Brenneman, and Alia Shawkat also star. It debuts June 12 on Hulu.

FX also previewed the upcoming season of Mayans MC, returning April 19 on FX and Hulu, which actor Edward James Olmos called “arguably the best [season of Mayans] I’ve ever read … This is a very dark show, and the first three seasons don’t quite prepare you for the fourth.” His character, Felipe Reyes, his sons — EZ (JD Pardo) and  Angel (Clayton Cardenas) — and the rest continue to face the consequences of their actions in the program’s first two seasons. As showrunner Elgin James put it, “That’s what happens in life. This season is about climbing your way out of hell.”

As the Slap Resounds Through Hollywood, Will Smith Resigns from the Academy

Will Smith on the monitor during the Governors Ball

(Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Whether it’s on TV, online, or in a situation completely unrelated to Sunday’s 94th Annual Academy Awards presentation, the response to Will Smith slapping Chris Rock (after he quipped about close-shaved hairstyle of Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who suffers from alopecia) continues even after both Smith and Rock apologized for their behavior.

On Friday, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home,” the Times reported Smith said in a statement. “I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken.”

Read also: 

Oscars 2022: Full List of the 94th Academy Awards Winners
Oscars 2022 Biggest Moments: Beyoncé in Compton, Liza Minnelli’s Surprise Appearance, and the Slap Heard ‘Round the World

Given Smith’s resignation, the Academy’s next steps are not clear, though the Academy has accepted his resignation, The New York Times reported Friday.

“We have received and accepted Mr. Will Smith’s immediate resignation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” David Rubin, its president, said in a statement obtained by NYT. “We will continue to move forward with our disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, in advance of our next scheduled board meeting on April 18.”

The action was the latest in the drama surrounding the assault seen around the world, which Oscar producer Will Packer discussed on Good Morning America. Packer revealed that the academy planned to have Smith physically removed, but that Packer stepped in and said Rock did not want to make a bad situation worse.

Smith loses the benefits of membership, but is still eligible for future Oscars, since nominees do not have to be Academy members.

The moment led to a lot of discussion online, from comedians fearful of instant physical reaction for their humor to other debating whether or not Rock knew the reasons for Pinkett Smith’s appearance at the awards ceremony. Clips posted online of Rock’s 2009 documentary, Good Hair, which feature him interviewing a woman with alopecia — the condition Pinkett Smith suffers from — suggests he is at least aware of the illness itself.

Industry veteran Ron Howard was asked  about it during the FX Press Day, while promoting Under the Banner of Heaven as executive producer.

“I found it very upsetting. I wasn’t there. I was watching it on television,” Howard said. “These are people I’m very friendly with, and I was shocked. I wouldn’t have expected this kind of behavior.” Referring to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science’s intent to investigate the incident and potentially censure Smith, he added, “I’m not on the Academy board, and I can’t speak for their process, but I do know them and they will be very, very thoughtful. I will be curious to see what sort of decisions they make.”

Meanwhile, the incident continues to be fodder for The View, practically anyone being interviewed at the moment, and Howard Stern, who expressed surprise on his SiriusXM radio show that Smith was not arrested. The LAPD has reported that they were prepared to arrest Smith immediately after the incident, but Rock refused to press charges. As for Rock: sales of tickets to his upcoming shows, and aftermarket prices, have reportedly gone through the roof.

On Wednesday, the Academy released a statement apologizing to the comedian. It also stated Smith was asked to leave the ceremony on Sunday, but refused. According to the statement, “We could have handled the situation differently.”

NEW TRAILERS: Only Murders in the Building Trailer Asks: Who Is Cooler Than Steve Martin?

Only Murders in the Building returns later this summer, and the new trailer for the Hulu series lets us know one key thing: the Murders podcast will not go away quietly. Stars Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez return with Cara Delevingne and Amy Schumer buying units in the building and joining the fray. The series returns June 28.

More trailers and teasers released this week:

Evil’s Dr. Kristen Bouchard (Katja Herbers) returns for another round with supernatural forces … and possibly something else. Premieres June 12. (Paramount+)
The Staircase stars Colin Firth and Toni Collette dramatize the events which inspired the documentary series of the same name. Premieres May 5. (HBO Max)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds character Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding) takes center stage in one of the latest promos for the upcoming Star Trek prequel. Will Cadet Uhura serve with distinction? Premieres May 5. (Paramount+)

Ozark releases a peek at the series’ final episodes. Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) prepares for the final reckoning. Premieres April 29. (Netflix)
Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045: Motoko Kusanagi’s latest adventure continues in season 2 of the anime series.  Premieres May 23. (Netflix)
• A Very British Scandal stars Claire Foy and Paul Bettany as the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, whose acrimonious divorce in 1963 was an absolute scandal. Premieres April 22. (Prime Video)

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CASTING: Naomi Watts Will Star in Season 2 of Feud

VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 03: Naomi Watts walks the red carpet ahead of the 'At Eternity's Gate' screening during the 75th Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 3, 2018 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

Naomi Watts will star in the revived Ryan Murphy-produced anthology series Feud in a season called “Capote’s Women,” set in the 1970s, and telling the story of author Truman Capote’s “bitter falling out with a number of New York society women — including Barbara “Babe” Paley, Gloria Guinness, Lee Radziwill (Jackie Kennedy’s sister) Slim Hayward, Pamela Churchill and C.Z. Guest — whom he called his ‘swans.'” Watts will play Paley, the wife of CBS founder William S. Paley. (THR)

Gregg Clark can’t get enough of shows based on comic books. The actor will be trading in his S.H.I.E.L.D. badge for the confines of Snowpiercer. Michael Aronov is also joining the series, which just concluded its third season. It is unclear, though, how either will fit onto the train or the big revelation from the finale.

Walton Goggins will not have to walk the wasteland of Fallout alone. Ella Purnell (Yellowjackets) will star as a young women living in a United States ruined by nuclear conflagration. The program is based on the video game series of the same name, in which lone survivor from a protected bomb shelter encounters the post-atomic society which has grown in the decades since bombs first fell. (Deadline)

The cast of The CW’s Gotham Knights continues to grow with Doom Patrol veteran Anna Lore reportedly signing on as Stephanie Brown. The fan favorite comic book character typically goes by “The Spoiler,” but has also suited up as both Robin and Batgirl at various times. (Deadline)

Peter Gadiot will take the helm as “legendary” pirate captain Shanks in Netflix’s adaptation of One Piece, the long-running manga and anime series about maritime adventures and the search for a mythical item which will allow a single pirate to rule as king over the rest. (Deadline)

Samantha Morton will reprise her role as Alpha in AMC’s Tales of the Walking Dead anthology series, which premieres this summer.  (Variety)

PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: Doctor Who To Return with Feature-Length Episode ‘Legend of the Sea Devils’

Doctor Who _ Season 13

(Photo by James Pardon/BBC Studios/BBC America)

Doctor Who returns for one of its promised feature-length special episodes later this month. As the BBC announced on Monday, the special, “Legend of the Sea Devils” will air on April 17 and see Thirteenth Doctor Jodie Whittaker, along with current companions Yaz (Mandip Gill) and Dan (John Bishop) face off against an enemy only glimpsed a handful of times across the program’s 58-year history. Whittaker will return for her last Doctor Who tale later this year.

The CW has acquired the Canadian series Family Law for broadcast later this year. The series stars Jewel Staite as Abigail Bianchi, a recovering alcoholic who practices law and struggles to reassemble both her career and her family after hitting rock bottom. Victor Garber also stars as Abigail’s father, the head of the family law practice she must now work at as a condition of her probation. Zach Smadu and Genelle Williams also star. There series was created by Susin Nielsen and produced by SEVEN24 Films and Lark Productions for Corus Entertainment’s Global (Canada).

Almost as soon as the ink dried on Amazon’s acquisition of MGM, it announced its first program utilizing one of the former studio’s key assets: James Bond 007. The company’s Prime Video has ordered an eight-part reality competition called 007’s Road to a Million which will pit contestants in tests of intelligence and endurance against the backdrop of iconic Bond film locations for a £1 million prize. Production on the series, which has reportedly been in development for four years, will begin later this year (Variety)

It director Andy Muschietti isn’t done with Deary just yet. He will reportedly serve as an executive producer on a prequel series tentatively titled Welcome to Deary. The proposed series, written by Jason Fuchs, will detail life in Deary, Maine prior to the events of It: Chapter One. (Deadline)

Elliot Page’s Umbrella Academy character is coming out as transgender. The actor shared a picture of the character in the third season on Tuesday with an accompanying message: “Meet Viktor Hargreeves.” In previous seasons, the character was seemingly a cisgender woman, but it seems the series will introduce a new truth for Viktor even as he and the rest of the Hargreeves must confront an alternate reality version of their family known as the Sparrow Academy. The Umbrella Academy returns June 22.

Peacock has ordered a new original sketch comedy special Would it Kill You to Laugh? Starring Kate Berlant and John Early, with an appearance from Meredith Vieira, the program will feature the comedy duo playing exaggerated versions of themselves as they reunite after suffering a public falling out many years earlier. It is set to premiere sometime this summer.

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