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- Posted on Sep 15th 2011 3:00PM by Jenny Charlesworth
Courtesy of 'Sons of Norway'
"I did it for the money," Lydon quips to Spinner.
"'Sons of Norway' is an excellent film," he clarifies."'It's a completely truthful, honest representation of life as we know it. It's a joyous film and it celebrates humanity and dismisses the rumors that punk is all negative."
To hear the punk pioneer champion their movie is a certainly a relief to 'Sons of Norway' writer Nikolaj Frobenius and director Jens Lien since it wasn't exactly a breeze to get him involved.
"I wrote a scene with him, and we thought, 'Let's put it in the script and see what happens,'" says Frobenius. "We weren't too optimistic that we were actually going to get John Lydon to play that character in the film."
"We'd approached his team about meeting up at a Public Image Ltd show but his manager said, 'I can't guarantee you that we'll let you in,'" explains Lien. "'Well, we're coming anyways,' I said, 'we need to talk to you.' So we stood out in the rain for two hours waiting to get in. In the end, they opened the door and we managed to show John the script face-to-face. I guess they saw that we meant serious business and weren't just there to have a celebrity in the film."
Not only did Lydon agree to the guest-spot but he also signed on as an executive producer and played a pivotal role in securing rights to his former band's music, which was essential to the movie as it's set in 1970s Norway and tells the story of an adolescent boy who rallies under the banner of punk rock in order to make sense of a dramatic event in his life.
Though you'd expect working with someone as headstrong as Lydon would be daunting, Frobenius and Lien insist no one was ever walking on eggshells when the King of Punk -- who gleefully signs off his interviews with wacky sayings like: "I deserve to be electrocuted, bye bye!" -- was around.
"He's such a jewel to have on the set because he's so witty and so smart," says Frobenius. "He's also very flexible and funny."
Lydon has equally glowing sentiments about the 'Sons of Norway' team: "I'm really proud and glad and pleased that the other people involved appreciated my participation as much as I appreciated theirs."
Still, Frobenius and Liens admit they were squirming in their seats during the 'Sons of Norway' premiere at TIFF Sept. 9. "We were sitting there watching to see how John would react, he'd seen pieces of the film but not on a big screen like that," says Lien. "And he didn't talk to us at first, he just walked out of the theater and we didn't think we'd ever see him again."
"Then he came in and he was very positive," laughs Frobenius. "He's been very supportive of the film and I think he connected to it on an emotional level."
Courtesy of 'Sons of Norway'
"I remember the first time I heard the Sex Pistols -- it's very similar to the scene in the film -- sitting in the basement and the record being turned on and [the music] just exploding. You never heard anything like it at the time," Frobenius recalls. "Now the Sex Pistols doesn't sound that radical, but at the time it didn't sound like anything else."