For our Reel vs. Real installment this week, let's look back at the 1986 biopic which tells about the life of Sid Vicious, the famously infamous bassist and vocalist of punk rock band Sex Pistols.
“Sid Vicious is Sex Pistols,” says Nancy Spungen in the 1986 British biopic Sid and Nancy. There’s an undeniable truth to this line from the film since the mere mention of Vicious immediately brings the seminal punk rock band to mind. Directed by Alex Cox, the film portrays the short and drug-addled life of Sid Vicious and his controversial relationship with Nancy Spungen.
The film begins with Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman) being dragged out of Hotel Chelsea in Manhattan by police offers after his girlfriend Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb) was found dead in their room. He was brought to the police station for questioning, and the film proceeds to tell the back story. He met Spungen, a groupie, in London in 1978, which eventually led to their self-destructive and heroin-fueled relationship. This eventually took its toll on Vicious’ own relationship with the other Sex Pistols members, the culmination of which was the band’s break-up during a disastrous American tour.
Things soon turn for the worse for the couple: Vicious attempts to launch a solo career but fails, and the two soon spiral further down into heroin addiction. Spungen also falls into a deep depression. A heated argument amidst a drug-induced haze ended badly for the couple. Whether intentional or otherwise, Vicious stabs Spungen, and she eventually bleeds to death.
At first, Sid Vicious’ mother, Anne Beverley, did not want the film to push through, but decided to assist the production after meeting with Cox. For the role, Gary Oldman ate nothing but steamed fish and melons to lose weight, but was briefly hospitalized when he grew too thin. Oldman also donned the very metal chain and padlock that Vicious owned, given by Beverley for him to wear in the film.
Interestingly, Courtney Love recorded an audition video saying “I am Nancy Spungen” (there are some bits from the video here). While she impressed Cox, the film’s investors wanted an experienced actress for the role.
Watch the trailer for Sid and Nancy below:
All information for this article were sourced from Wikipedia.
A series made for cinephiles, Reel vs. Real highlights some notable biographical films that you may or may not have watched, and puts the biopic actors side by side with their real life counterparts.