Sid and Nancy, a 1986 film directed by Alex Cox and starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, was based on the drug- and sex-filled true story of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Take a stroll in Chelsea to catch a glimpse of the film’s most recognizable location, The Hotel Chelsea or take a ride on the NYC TV & Movie Tour to see some other popular TV & movie locations that the Chelsea neighborhood has to offer.
The Hotel Chelsea, built in 1883, is located at 222 W 23rd Street in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Back when the hotel was built, Chelsea was the center of New York’s theater district, and the hotel has been the residence of countless well-known actors, writers, musicians, and artists over the years. The Hotel Chelsea was the real-life location where Sid Vicious allegedly stabbed his girlfriend Nancy to death.
Sid Vicious’s mother, Anne Beverley, was at first adamantly against the film being made. However, after meeting with Cox, the director, she changed her mind and actually helped get the film produced. She gave Gary Oldman Sid’s real trademark chain and padlock to wear in the film. The chain and padlock had been given to Sid by Chrissie Hynde of the band The Pretenders, however, in the film the chain is given to Sid by Nancy.
Gary Oldman lost a lot of weight to play emaciated heroin addict Sid Vicious. In order to lose the weight, he ate nothing but steamed fish and melon. He actually lost too much weight and had to be hospitalized.
Webb and Oldman actually improvised the scene leading up to Nancy’s death, but they based their improvisation on research they had done in preparation for their roles in the film.
Courtney Love had wanted to play the role of Nancy and recorded an audition tape in which she proclaimed, “I AM Nancy Spungen!” Cox was actually really impressed by Love’s audition tape and seriously considered giving her the role. However, the studio wanted to go with a more experienced actress. Cox then created the smaller role of Gretchen for Love to play, and he also cast her in the lead of his later film Straight to Hell.
The casting director for Sid and Nancy actually accidentally cast all five members of Guns and Roses as extras for a club scene in the film. He scouted them each separately, not knowing they even knew each other, let alone that they were all in a band together. When they arrived on set, the band members were surprised to see each other there. Slash was the only band member who stayed for the entire shoot.
Sex Pistols lead singer Johnny Rotten, whose real name is John Lydon, says that no one involved in the making of Sid and Nancy, including the writers and director, contacted him for a point of reference, and therefore the film is extremely inaccurate. He has said of the film, “To me this movie is the lowest form of life. I honestly believe that it celebrates heroin addiction.” However, most reviews of the film were extremely positive.
* In an effort to stay current, we are constantly updating our tours with new locations and cannot guarantee the presence of locations mentioned on our site. If you have a particular interest in locations from a specific TV show or movie, please let your tour guide know and we will do our best to accommodate your request.