Movies & TV
How the Cast of Daisy Jones and the Six Became Your New Favourite Band
Stars Riley Keough and Sam Claflin talk about coming together to make the much-anticipated series, which debuts on Prime Video on March 3.
by : Patricia Karounos- Mar 2nd, 2023
Lacey Terrell/Prime Video
If you type in “Is Daisy Jones and the Six…” into Google, the top result that appears finishes “…a real band?” followed by other similarly worded questions all coming from the same place of curiosity. The world that author Taylor Jenkins Reid crafted in her bestselling book of the same name—which follows the rise and fall of a fictional band in the 1970s, and the irresistible push/pull between its two leads—feels so immersive, so authentic, it is easy to forget that you are, in fact, reading a novel and not an unauthorized biography of, say, Fleetwood Mac. (Reid looked to the group for inspiration when writing the story.) That’s all about to change.
You can probably expect Google searches to skyrocket when Prime Video’s on-screen adaptation (which is executive produced by Reese Witherspoon) of Daisy Jones and the Six debuts on Friday. Now, the highly anticipated miniseries is putting faces to the names that fans have been obsessing over: Riley Keough stars as enchanting lead singer/writer Daisy Jones and Sam Claflin is her complicated co-lead Billy Dunne, to name just two. Reid confirmed as much when she shared the news earlier this year that Aurora, the LP that made the band famous in the book, will launch alongside the show. “Aurora exists, and it is a stunning, nostalgic, timeless album,” she shared in an audio statement. “Daisy Jones and the Six are real. And they are better than my wildest dreams.”
And that’s how it feels to watch Daisy Jones and the Six: There is an almost mystical, dream-like quality to how the band creates, performs and interacts on-screen—and that’s before you get to the tabloid-worthy drama that unfolds amongst the group. Never does it seem like you are watching actors pretend to be musicians; they are the real deal. It’s why the show is as electric as it is, and that magic that permeates through the screen is similar to what the cast experienced on set. “I do really feel like every role that I’ve had in my life, I was meant to play,” says Keough, who previously had no formal musical training (though music does run in her family, through grandfather Elvis Presley and late mother Lisa Marie Presley). “I always have a sort of very spiritual connection to the characters I play and feel like things happen exactly when they’re meant to.”
Claflin, who was the last member of the band to be cast and also had no background in music, agrees. “The show came to me at a time in my life where I needed it more than it needed me,” he says. “Billy just really spoke to me in a way I had never experienced before—besides this music, which is obviously the most integral part of who he is. Who he is as a person, his values, the way he lives his life, the crossroads he comes to, the conversations he has, it all made me be like, ‘I’ve been through this, I know what this is like.’”
The show was meant to start shooting in April 2020. You know what happened instead. But through all the confusion, despair, uncertainty and isolation the pandemic brought about, there was a silver-lining for the cast of Daisy Jones: Suddenly, they had time to transform into the frenzy-inducing band the material was asking them to be. For about a year, they had weekly virtual music lessons and Zoom hangouts to hone both their sound and chemistry. When it became time to pick up their instruments for real, they knew their music like musicians should.
Genuine connections also resulted. Suki Waterhouse, who plays edgy keyboardist Karen Sirko, and Camila Morrone, who stars as photographer and Billy’s wife Camila Dunne, for example, grew so close that while doing interviews together ahead of the premiere, they answered questions for each other. “It felt really natural for us to spend so much time together—it doesn’t always happen,” Waterhouse says. “We’re both talkers, we both love connecting, knowing everything about going on in each other’s lives. We built a support for each other on set and advocated for each other, which was really nice because that mirrored itself in the show.”
For Keough and Claflin, that extra time “together” was invaluable. They both talk about going through personal rough patches before starting on the show. Claflin’s instinct was to bury himself in work to drown it all out, but then he was forced to sit with it, reflect, be present with his kids and himself, and that made becoming Billy much more accessible than if he had jumped into work, he explains. Keough, meanwhile, found solace in the joy and companionship when the time came to actually be on set together. There was safety, joy and love that could now easily be shared between the band members—who had now become a second, judgement-free family—that everything “ended up cosmically making more sense,” according to Keough.
“All of us, I think, were a little afraid of having to play these really complex songs and learn all these parts, but the group we had was so supportive of each other. I’ve never been on a set where, when you finish something, your fellow actors go, ‘That was awesome,’ as much as this cast,” she says. “When you feel comfortable in the environment, it really frees up your performance. You don’t feel afraid to take risks, or try things or have fun. There was a freedom and playfulness on set that allowed everyone to feel better.”
That overwhelming sense of belonging is exactly how Daisy Jones—both the band and the show—is able to exist in a way that resonates. “I’ve never felt this good about a group of people—I’ve never felt so comfortable, and supported and at ease,” Claflin says. “This really was a standout, special experience, which will mean the world to me for potentially forever. The people involved were just so integral to my personal growth, and I think that really shows in the work.”
Daisy Jones & The Six premieres on Prime Video on March 3.
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