Awards Daily talks to Riley Keough of Daisy Jones & The Six about finding her 1970s rock star body language and what the limited series’ finale means for Daisy and Billy’s future.
As much as Daisy Jones & The Six is about an ill-fated, fictional rock band, it’s also about the power of nostalgia, both for audiences who love the 1970s as well as the characters who reminiscence about the toughest years in their young lives.
In the 1970s, Riley Keough’s Daisy struggles with unrequited love and drug addiction, but 20 years on, she gives a sweet grin to the documentary crew when she looks back on meeting Billy Dunne (Sam Claflin) for the first time, as if a great adventure is about to begin.
“We tried a few different versions of that first beat,” says Keough. “We tried a version that was looking back on that time as some of the best moments of her life. We tried a version that was emotional, and we tried a version that was a little cheeky and mischievous.”
The version they chose ends up being perfect because it bookends the finale, where Daisy greets Billy with a smile after decades of estrangement, with more adventures to be had.
“You can have your own ideas about what happens. I think they have the ability to be very good friends and/or be in love. That’s a very nuanced and special relationship.”
‘There Wasn’t One Person I Was Basing Her Off Of’
One of the first scenes Keough ever shot with Claflin was the Sound City studio performance of “Honeycomb,” when Daisy and Billy meet for the first time. Keough recalls it as her favorite scene on the page, even before they shot it.
“I thought it was a really funny, charming, and sweet scene between the two of them. It was one of my favorites in terms of the way it was written.”
In the scene, it’s not only evident that Daisy and Billy have chemistry, but that Keough has done her homework, bringing a raw energy to the vocal and a comfortability to the body language of a rock star.
“I think I watched every single 1970s musical performance I could possibly find on YouTube. I would just let it roll, and it would go into hundreds of performances of every female singer. There wasn’t one person I was basing her off of, but I think all that information went into my brain. There are definitely Stevie Nicks references. In her stage performance, they wanted her to twirl like Stevie would do, so there was that for sure. The thing I really was most focused on was to make sure all of my movements were not modern and felt period correct. A lot of it was me watching the way people moved their bodies.”
Would Keough herself ever consider recording an album? Music is in her genes, after all.
“Never say never, because I never would have said I would have a record to begin with [Daisy Jones & The Six is the first fictional band to make it to No. 1 on iTunes]. I can’t write music, or if I can, I don’t know it yet. I think my career in music stops there. I love to sing. Maybe I’ll do something else with music.”
‘It Was a Solid Choice In Terms of Making Her Character Stronger’
Amazon’s limited series offers some changes from the Taylor Jenkins Reid book it’s based on, including that Daisy ultimately ends the relationship with Billy (in the book, he goes back to his family after a conversation with a stranger at a bar). Keough believes this addition felt necessary for Daisy’s arc, for her to show some growth.
“To realize the situation she’s in was not meant for her at the moment, it felt like a strong arc as a female character. I think it was a solid choice in terms of making her character stronger. I liked it. There are a few changes from the book that not everyone will like, but I liked Daisy having this moment. She’s also impulsive, and the decision to leave the band was also impulsive from this crazy day. I don’t even know when she makes the choice. I like the idea that you can love so many people in your life but that doesn’t mean you’re meant to marry or have kids with them. I love her coming to that conclusion. It’s a very mature thing to wrap your head around, and she’s in many ways very child-like, so that shows maturity.”
But is there a future for Daisy and Billy? When they reunite in the final moments of the series, will their mutual addictions get in the way? Keough tends to think positively.
“I don’t think Billy is the reason for Daisy’s addiction, so I don’t think she associates him as a trigger per se. When she fell in love with him, she was an addict and her love for him was genuine. I think they’re both addicts, but I think their love wasn’t because of the addiction. I do think their love was very real. When you love somebody like that and have experiences like that, I don’t know if it ever goes away. With the way they ended it, it was beautiful and respectful of each other’s lives. I do see a world in which they still have love for each other, which is probably why they come together in the end.”
Daisy Jones & The Six is streaming on Amazon Prime.