Daisy Jones & The Six Stars Riley Keough and Sam Claflin on Making the Band

The series' cast and creators talk about diving into the behind-the-scenes drama of a Fleetwood Mac–like ’70s rock band.

by | March 3, 2023 | Comments

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(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

Was the term “sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll” meant to suggest an order of preference?

In Daisy Jones & The Six, Prime Video’s glossy miniseries adaptation of author Taylor Jenkins Reid’s bestselling novel, Riley Keough stars as Daisy Jones, the red-headed wild-child of the 1970s Sunset Strip. She has an ear for music and a mind for song-writing. But she also has a nose for drugs.

Daisy’s kinetic energy with Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin), the lead singer and mastermind of rising folk-rock band The Six, would mean that there’s an obvious answer to a will-they-or-won’t-they when they partner on a new album — if it weren’t that Billy is married to photographer Camila (Camila Morrone).

Told in a docu-style narrative, we learn early on that Daisy Jones & The Six made the hit album Aurora — known for such bangers as “Regret Me,” “Kill You to Try,” and “Let Me Down Easy” — before they (seemingly) suddenly disband after a sold-out concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Showrunner Will Graham said the idea is to make the experience feel relatable.

“It’s not ‘cool’; we’re not saying like look at these amazing rock stars,” he said. “We’re saying step in with these people and be part of the ride.” He added that, in capturing the spirit of the novel, the message of this dysfunctional family is that “it was complicated, but it was worth it. And look what we did and look what we made and people are still singing the songs.”

Director and executive producer James Ponsoldt equated it to “making a really big cinematic home movie about people making something together.”

But what did it take to get the band together? We asked the cast and producers.

Daisy & Billy

Riley Keough (Daisy), Sam Claflin (Billy) Daisy Jones & The Six

(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

Keough told Rotten Tomatoes that the first time she felt a Daisy-Billy bond with Claflin was when he auditioned for the part. She’d already been cast and she remembered looking at him and “in that audition, I remember thinking ‘that’s Billy’ in the room.” In a very Daisy move, when Claflin momentarily forgot his lines, Keough said she shoved him out from behind a curtain “and was like, ‘You got this!'”

For Claflin, that moment didn’t come until the fifth episode. That’s when the characters are working together on the album’s titular song, “Aurora” away from the rest of the band, and he said that “not only were we getting to know the characters, and the relationship between the characters, but actually get to know each other as actors.”

Casting Keough seemed almost too much like a no-brainer. The actress is, famously, Elvis Presley’s granddaughter. But her appearance even resembles that of the fictional Daisy, who is described in the book as having thick and wavy copper-red hair and dark blue eyes.

“She had read the novel, and she said, ‘I need to play this part. I was born to play this part,’ and all we have to do is sit back and be like, ‘Great,'” executive producer and co-creator Scott Neustadter said.

Riley-Keough Daisy Jones and The Six - First Look

(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

The art-imitating-life-imitating-art situation will probably happen again thanks to work of costume designer Denise Wingate and her team. In the book, Daisy is a fashion It girl who is gifted Halston gowns at her Chateau Marmont bungalow and is known to accessorize with earrings and sleeves of bangle bracelets. A pivotal episode of this limited series features Keough looking carefree in vibrant caftans — one of many designs that will probably start fashion trends.

“I’ve always felt that everything in the ’70s was more beautiful: fashion, cars, architecture, music,” Keough said. “So it was really a dream to get to exist in that place and get to drive these cars and wear the clothes.”

Other characters’ costumes might not hold up as well. The book frequently mentions Billy’s penchant for a “Canadian tuxedo” of denim shirts paired with jeans.

Claflin laughed that, in the second half of the series when the band becomes more successful, “everyone was coming in in fur coats and super-long flares or these leather trousers.”

“My costume went from blue denim to black denim,” he said.



(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

Although some might want to label her the “other woman,” Billy’s wife, Camila, is a not to be trifled with. She wants to travel across country and leave her family at home? Done. She wants someone to join the band? It happens. In a slight twist from the book, Camila is also a member of The Six, even though she’s not actually a musician.

“I did not want Camila or any character that I ever played to come off as a wallflower or a wounded victim or someone who’s not entirely in control of their life and their destiny,” Morrone said. “I think that it could be portrayed that way, when you think of the title and of her position in life, but I think she’s everything above that. And, I think, throughout the series, you realize kind of the powerhouse this woman is. Even what it is subdued and more quiet and there’s more going on in the foreground, there is an ever-consistent force of nature behind her.”

This version of the character is much more involved in the daily lives of the band members.

Jenkins Reid said that this, and other changes, may make book fans take notice. But she said that, for her, “I don’t think they feel like huge swings. They don’t change the heart of the story.”

Karen and Graham


(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

Will Harrison plays Graham Dunne, Billy’s younger brother and hopeless romantic. He falls hard for pianist Karen Sirko (Suki Waterhouse) and pushes for her to join The Six.

Jenkins Reid is often asked about the story’s parallels to the real-life behind-the-scenes drama of rock band Fleetwood Mac. And the significance of the 2022 death of Christine McVie, that band’s keyboardist and songwriter, is not lost on Waterhouse.

“I thought about her so much through shooting the whole show,” said Waterhouse, who watched the 2019 BBC documentary Fleetwood Mac’s Songbird – Christine McVie during filming Daisy Jones. “She talked so much [there] about her relationship with [front woman] Stevie [Nicks] and leaving the band for a long time, and you just really get a sense of who she was. I was very saddened to hear that she passed. There was so much in her that I connected to.”

Daisy Jones & The Six

(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

Although Fleetwood Mac is often mentioned as inspiration for Daisy and the Six, there are a lot of bands who are thought to be inspiration for the fictional band. Even the Australian kids’ band The Wiggles got a larger fan base when it added the red-headed female musician Emma Watkins.

“I did not directly take anything from the Wiggles,” Jenkins Reid told Rotten Tomatoes, “but when I started watching the Wiggles with my kid, I got very involved in the drama and how it resembled so many of the other bands I used for inspiration like ABBA, Wings, No Doubt, and Sonic Youth.”

Eddie and Warren

Daisy Jones & The Six Daisy-Jones-Riley-Keough-Sam-Claflin-Josh-Whitehouse-Sebastian-Chacon

(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

Even for the mega-famous, there are subsets of fame. Filling out The Six are bassist Eddie Roundtree (Josh Whitehouse) and drummer Warren Rojas (Sebastian Chacon). While Eddie’s ego makes him butt heads with Billy, Warren is pretty stoked about his position in life.

“Warren has a great sense of our problems being luxury and that every issue that we have to deal with is like ‘Wow, I’m blessed that I have to have this issue,'” Chacon said. “Growing up, I had the same kind of thing. My parents are both immigrants from South America, and they grew up in conditions where that they couldn’t even imagine the life that I’m living right now. Warren — the way that I put him together as a Columbia dude born in 1950 — couldn’t possibly imagine having any of these luxuries.”

So is Eddie the villain in this story?

“In the beginning of filming, I had a little ding moment, and I decided that a character I was basing it on was Scar from The Lion King,” Whitehouse said. “Every time Billy’s walking out the room, it’s like [Billy is] trying to steal the kingdom and take everybody away … It’s like he’s trying to take over, but in a very sneaky way. And then he’s always being so nice to Billy to his face, as well. To an extent he’s a villain. But at the same time, I hope that I brought enough life to him that people see the goodness in him as well.”

They’re With the Band: Simone, Teddy, and Rod


(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

While not members of The Six, there are other characters still integral to this story.

Nabiyah Be plays Simone Jackson, a trendsetter for the disco scene and the only friend Daisy really has.

“It’s very obvious that Simone takes her in, but I think they’re both navigating life on their own,” Be said of Simone and Daisy’s relationship. “Daisy is the first person that accepts Simone for who she is. That’s rare for her. So I think that keeps her coming back: the comfort.”

While Simone is finding her path in the music industry, she is also becoming more comfortable in her sexuality.

Be said she knew “Simone was going to be queer early on and, honestly, I think it’s a great choice. It’s honest and relatable to the history of disco music, so I think it made it a lot more poignant.”


(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

Teddy Price (Tom Wright) is the accomplished music executive who brings Daisy into The Six and becomes a de facto father figure for this group.

“With Billy, Teddy sees a part of himself when he was young and he knows that there’s a beautiful seed of artistry and creativity there,” Wright said. “With Daisy, it’s more of a mentor-mentee type relationship. He understands that she is this kernel of popcorn that’s about to explode, but, as with children if you have a couple of kids, one is going to need a bit of nurturing and understanding and the other — well, they’re going to have to figure it out on their own.”

Teddy is also one of the few male music executives who doesn’t seem to want to exploit his power.

“There are complications in Teddy’s life that we don’t see,” Wright said. “But Teddy is the kind of guy who never allows his personal life to influence his artistic life.”

Timothy Olyphant (Rod) Daisy Jones & The Six

(Photo by Lacey Terrell/Prime Video)

It’s arguable that none of this would have been possible without Rod Reyes, Timothy Olyphant’s road manager who Billy and the guys meet before Teddy and Daisy, when they’re figuring out their sound in dive bars within driving distance of Pittsburgh.

Olyphant also appeared in the (underrated) Mark WahlbergJennifer Aniston dramatic film Rock Star, which also deals with the perils of sudden fame in the music industry.

He said the difference between the allure of the acting and musician professions is hard to describe because rock stars “just go on for a couple hours a night and perform and the rest is just free time. Acting is tedious and long and boring. It’s a different type of fantasy.”

It’s such a culture shock, he said, that actual musicians who appeared in Rock Star sent that film’s assistant director into a panic because they wanted to head to a bar while the crew set up the next shot.

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