Louis Partridge, a Sid Vicious for the 21st century: “Punk prevailed in a society torn apart by the economy. It is not so different from what we live now” | icon | The USA Print

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When pronouncing the name of the Sex Pistols, the same thing happens as with other music giants: excited fans who think they know everything about them jump, those who only know the band by hearsay nod stoically, and the rest respond with a smirk. weariness before a legend that doesn’t care about them. That’s why when Disney announced in January 2021 that it was preparing a series about the most famous punk band in history, there were questions, many questions. What was left to tell about those four kids who were the spearhead of the most important youth movement of the last half century?

“Fortunately, they had an ace up their sleeve,” announces Louis Partridge (London, 19 years old), who plays Sid Vicious, the most stormy of them: handsome, self-destructive and not very intelligent. Partridge has almost eight million followers on Instagram and has just walked for Prada, but he is not the ace in the hole: he is referring to Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting (1996), the Oscar-winning Who wants to be a millionaire? (2008) and now in charge of resurrecting the band in Pistol, the series that Disney + has just released throughout the English-speaking world and that will arrive in Spain on September 7. Boyle has based himself on a maxim that the actor cites today: “The Pistols are so great that what happens to great legends happens to them: we know more about our preconceived idea about them than their real history.”

Fisherman's raincoat, trousers and shoes, Prada.  Punkism is Partridge's.
Fisherman’s raincoat, trousers and shoes, Prada. Punkism is Partridge’s.Charlie Gray
Fisherman's raincoat, trousers and shoes, Prada.
Fisherman’s raincoat, trousers and shoes, Prada.Charlie Gray

It’s nine in the morning and Louis Partridge, an admirer of directors such as Paul Thomas Anderson and Luca Guadagnino, is wearing a T-shirt that reads Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, the title of the only studio album released by the group in 1977. “When I found out that a production about the Pistols was underway, I thought I had to try it,” he says. He had already released some nine projects, including the one that was his springboard to fame, Enola Holmes (2020), alongside Millie Bobby Brown (stranger things) and where he played the boisterous Viscount Tewkesbury. With that success under his arm, Partridge recorded himself in his own home speaking in the cockney accent typical of East London and the bassist of god save the queen: His mother played the part as Nancy Spungen, Vicious’s ill-fated girlfriend. “To my surprise they called me and, after two more recordings, I met with Danny [Boyle]. Within two weeks she had the role,” she says.

This leading man of new generations never intended to dedicate himself to acting. “I have always wanted to study and not depend on such a complicated profession,” he explains. Her first role was that of Lady Marian, Robin Hood’s partner, in the play she prepared in class at the age of eight: she followed the English tradition of playing classic roles, cast regardless of gender. “As you can see, I didn’t have too many prejudices in doing what they asked me,” she jokes about playing a noblewoman in love with a bandit. “It took me five years for someone to give me a relatively decent role, in shorts like About a Dog (2014) or Beneath Water (2014) and the series Boomers (an episode in 2014): I combined those shootings with classes and exams, so that my parents would also trust me”. His father, a lawyer based in the neighborhood of Wandsworth, on the outskirts of London, had always dreamed of acting: it was not difficult to convince him that his son began to go to evidence. “Likewise, if I was overwhelmed and had a crisis about where I should go, I always thought about leaving acting before studying,” he says.

Partridge, in matching pants and shirt, shoes, socks and bucket hat, all Prada.
Partridge, in matching pants and shirt, shoes, socks and bucket hat, all Prada.Charlie Gray
Partridge, in matching pants and shirt, shoes, socks and bucket hat, all Prada.
Partridge, in matching pants and shirt, shoes, socks and bucket hat, all Prada.Charlie Gray

It was not necessary: ​​his career began to rise with Bread: Journey to Neverland (2015), his first role —without dialogue, but role— in a first-rate production. Since then, she has combined projects with exams. “The pandemic helped me a lot, because in the end I spent most of my time studying, sometimes math and sometimes a script,” she says. With the exams passed, Partridge now has about four titles on the verge of release. Although he tries to normalize the matter, he has no trouble confessing that the blockbuster Enola Holmes It was probably a surreal experience for an underage kid who finds himself suddenly involved in a shoot with stars like Henry Cavill (The Justice League) or Helena Bonham Carter. “I met them at the first meeting after being booked by Harry [Bradbeer, director], who had seen my recording, where, again, I was performing with my mother. I would be a fool if I didn’t admit that I was intimidated for a good while until I was able to work, ”she confesses.

In a matter of days, he became so friendly with Millie Bobby Brown that the gossip media ran to talk about a romance on the set —”that, the truth, was also a shock”— and, although they both laughed, their chemistry made it easy for the scenes to flow. “I remember being amazed at how they managed to get that good vibes [en el plató] and, with what I have lived afterwards, I have understood why: a director can make a shoot incredible or a horrible experience”.

Then came Vicious from the Sex Pistols. Partridge only knew the anecdotes his father had told him. For example, when they were invited to a television interview, in December 1976, to Bill Grundy’s family program and they arrived so drunk that they only knew how to rain down tacos. The next day, the DailyMirror carried on the cover the legendary headline The filth and the fury (variation of The noise and the fury Faulknerian). The actor also knew that the most conservative Britons hated them for their anti-anthem god save the queenpublished during the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II and whose first stanza —”God save the Queen / a fascist regime / they have made you an imbecile / a potential H-bomb”— sums up the group and that crazy anti-system movement that is the punk.

Sleeveless shirt and wide pants, early eighties style, Prada.
Sleeveless shirt and wide pants, early eighties style, Prada.Charlie Gray

“I spent two months investigating both Sid and the rest of the band, and also his manager [el visionario pop Malcolm McLaren]. And the findings were as interesting as they were devastating to me, ”he says. He found relics like The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, false documentary directed by Julian Temple in 1980 that mythologized the origins of the band. Or movies like sid and nancy (1986), about the love story between Vicious (Gary Oldman) and Spungen (Chloe Web), whom everything indicates that he murdered in October 1978. Vicious died of an overdose in February 1979, at the age of 21. “The more he read, the less clear he was about how to embody a guy who could be, depending on the day, the most disgusting human being on the planet or an example of perfect lucidity. After all, he was an 18-year-old kid when he joined the group and was clearly lost in life. In a few months, he went from being anonymous to one of the most hated people in the country, but also admired by many. Such a Molotov cocktailPartridge says.

The series, which features Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) as groupie Pamela Jordan Brooke and with Toby Wallace, Christian Lee, Anson Boon and Dylan Llewellyn as the rest of the gang, is based on the book Lonely Boy, memories of a Sex Pistol (Dome) that guitarist Steve Jones published in 2017. Something that the former leader of the group, John Lydon, did not like at all, who tried to stop the series and even resorted to the courts to prohibit the use of songs by the band. He lost. The actor believes that the book is the best possible raw material. “All the episodes are linked by a specific and strong narrative, the one of this guy who was always a secondary those years. Hundreds of series could be made about the Sex Pistols, but only one with so many guarantees of realism: it is narrated by those who lived the story. Steve wasn’t the lead, he wasn’t the lead, he probably wasn’t the most handsome or charismatic either, which is why his narrator role is so interesting,” Partridge muses. “I’ve thought a lot about the reason for its success, and it’s not so strange to me that punk prevailed in a society torn apart by the economic crisis. After all, these four guys were talking about the absence of a future for their generation, and it wasn’t such a Martian option either. It is not a situation so different from the one we live in now.”

While Louis Partridge was deciding whether to act or continue studying, he has shot one of the most anticipated series of the fall.
While Louis Partridge was deciding whether to act or continue studying, he has shot one of the most anticipated series of the fall.Charlie Gray

Partidge has just finished filming the next Enola Holmes adventure, which should also be released this year. While waiting for its premiere, he is also preparing ferryman (directorial debut by screenwriter Kelly Marcel, from cruel, Venom Y 50 shades of gray); the appletv+ series Disclaimer (alongside Cate Blanchett or Sacha Baron Cohen) or The Lost Girls, Livia de Paolis’s version of the classic Peter Pan where he will play the eternal infant of Neverland. The future promises, but Louis Partridge wouldn’t have a problem if the phone stopped ringing either: “Just in case, at least I’ve got a bachelor’s degree!”

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