Game Of Thrones Vet Maisie Williams Explains Why She Agreed To Go Topless For TV's Pistol

Maisie Williams as Jordan in Pistol
(Image credit: FX Networks)

Maisie Williams is undoubtedly best known for spending eight seasons playing Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, but that doesn’t mean she has stuck to only one type of character in one type of genre. After following up on Thrones with the drama miniseries Two Weeks to Live (currently available streaming), she’s coming to FX as one of the stars of Pistol, a six-episode miniseries about the Sex Pistols that involved some nudity for Williams. It’s not the first project that she’s gone topless for, but she has explained why she made that decision for the upcoming show. 

The actress plays Pamela Rooke, a.k.a. Jordan, for Pistol, which will be available via FX on Hulu with a Hulu subscription starting in late May. Maisie Williams went topless for a sex scene in the final season of Game of Thrones (available streaming with an HBO Max subscription), but projects like The New Mutants and Doctor Who haven’t exactly called for showing the same amount of skin. While the entertainment industry doesn’t always handle nude scenes with the most taste, Williams opened up to GQ about signing on to go topless for Pistol:

[I was hesitant], just because of everything that happens in the industry and all the horror stories I’ve heard…I want to be in this show because I’m the best person to do this, not because I’m the only girl who’ll take her top off.

For her Game of Thrones nude scene, Maisie Williams was working on her long-running show with a co-star she had worked with over multiple seasons and a director who had helmed multiple episodes, so she was familiar with the project and people around her. Pistol is a new show, and the actress wanted the role of Jordan because of her acting skills, not her willingness to do nudity. 

And she made sure to make her feelings about the role clear to the casting directors before moving forward in the audition process, sending a note about her concerns after her initial taped audition. It was clear from her earliest conversations that nudity would be involved with the role, and Jordan's real-life look had a distinctive style that didn’t shy away from showing a lot of skin. Danny Boyle, who directed Pistol, cleared up the issue for Williams, as she shared: 

Jordan was a political statement. Her entire ethos was turning the male gaze in on itself, and it was overtly sexual in a way that made other people feel ashamed. If I take my top off, I want to make other people feel uncomfortable.

The clarification from Danny Boyle – who won the Academy Award for Best Director in 2008 for Slumdog Millionaire and was nominated for two other Oscars for his work on 127 Hours in 2010 – was enough to convince Williams, and her second audition via Zoom involved an outfit worthy of Jordan: a sheer top with no bra. The audition process was a success for Williams, and viewers will soon get to see her take on Jordan with Pistol.

You’ll be able to watch FX’s Pistol with a Hulu subscription starting on Tuesday, May 31. All six episodes will be available right away, but if you need some more details before deciding whether or not to watch, check out our rundown of things we know about Pistol, including the cast beyond Maisie Williams.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.