Skip to main content

Danny Boyle & Production Designer Kave Quinn Conjure A London That No Longer Exists With ‘Pistol’ – The Process

Danny Boyle and 'Pistol' production designer Kave Quinn on The Process

When filmmaker Danny Boyle thinks of the artists that have worked behind the scenes to prep his numerous storied productions, there’s a quote from Muhammad Ali that comes to mind.

“The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses,” said Ali, “behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

One key creative helping Boyle to win the fight on projects ranging from his first feature Shallow Grave through his new FX series Pistol is production designer Kave Quinn, who recently sat down with the Oscar winner for a conversation as part of Deadline’s video series, The Process.

Boyle directed and exec produced the six-episode limited series Pistol, the focus of which is the rock and roll revolution of the 1970s. The raging storm at the center of this revolution is iconic English punk band the Sex Pistols—and at the center of the series is Sex Pistols’ founding member and guitarist, Steve Jones (Toby Wallace), whose hilarious, emotional and at-times heartbreaking journey guides us through a kaleidoscopic telling of three of the most epic, chaotic and mucus-spattered years in the history of music.

Quinn notes that she was a punker based in London between ’75 and ’77—when the story takes place—so when Boyle approached her for the project, she was “over the moon.” Alongside Boyle, she would look to conjure up the gritty, derelict London that they both remember well—which proved challenging, given the extent to which the city has changed in the decades since the Pistols’ rise and decline.

“The challenges of ’70s London were phenomenal,” says Boyle. “The pace of change in London since the ’70s is absolutely terrifying.”

In conversation with Boyle on The Process, Quinn speaks to her “vivid memories” of ’70s London; her prep for Pistol and the references that most informed the series’ aesthetic, including Julien Temple’s rockumentary The Filth and the Fury and Andrew Marr’s BBC docuseries The Making of Modern Britain; her crafty multipurpose use of locations as she recreated concert venues for Pistols shows in both the UK and the U.S.; her enjoyment of “unpredictability” and “eleventh-hour changes”; the contributions to the series of location manager Camilla Stephenson and her art department colleagues; Boyle’s strengths as an artist; advice she would give to aspiring designers; her “totally different” work at present on Disney’s new Snow White film, and more.

Boyle speaks for his part to the series’ use of archival footage “in freeform”; his enjoyment of Quinn’s typically “sprawling” sets, and how they serve as “an invitation” to his actors’ skills and ambition; his love of “big performances,: and his requirement that his cast members become “real musicians”; the challenge of recreating ’70s London with minimal use of CG; the aspects of Pistol he’s proudest of; the show’s costumes, which were intended to resemble “walking art pieces”, and more.

Pistol is based on Jones’ memoir Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol. Its cast also includes Jacob Slater, Anson Boon, Christian Lees, Louis Partridge, Sydney Chandler, Talulah Riley, Maisie Williams, Emma Appleton and Thomas Brodie-Sangster. All six episodes will debut on FX on Hulu on May 31. Boyle exec produced the show alongside creator Craig Pearce, Tracey Seaward, Gail Lyon, Anita Camarata, Steve Jones, Paul Lee, Hope Hartman and wiip. The series is produced by FX Productions.

View Boyle’s entire conversation with Quinn above.

No Comments



Deadline is a part of Penske Media Corporation. © 2023 Deadline Hollywood, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by VIP