Marie Claire: You are fantastic as rock star Billy Dunne in Daisy Jones & The Six. How did the role come to you?
Sam Claflin: I actually met with [production studio] Hello Sunshine for—and I hope they don’t mind me saying this—but I met with them for a role in the second season of The Morning Show. When I asked my agent about the feedback that came from that meeting I was told they had sent me another script, which was Daisy Jones.
I have to admit, I was really disheartened. I’d had my heart set on The Morning Show, but then I read the first episode of Daisy and immediately got lost in the world of Billy Dunne and the ’70s. And I was so enamoured by all the characters.
MC: How did you prepare for the music?
SC: Well, here’s the thing. I had to fly to LA to audition, which involved me learning a ’70s rock song, and I knew very little about ’70s music. I grew up listening to Fleetwood Mac but my knowledge of rock’n’roll from that era didn’t really expand much beyond that.
I googled ’70s rock songs and landed on Elton John’s “Your Song”, which is the least rock’n’roll song you’ve ever heard but I prepared that anyway and sang it at my audition.
MC: Well it obviously worked!
SC: [Laughs] They immediately asked me to sing something else!
MC: Had you read the book before auditioning?
SC: No, I hadn’t read the book…I’m not much of a reader. If I’m 100 per cent honest, I don’t have time for it. It’s not that I don’t like reading—I really relish the opportunities that I do get to sit with a book. They are just few and far between because I’m a dad and because I’m quite busy with work.
MC: Had Riley Keough been cast already as Daisy when you were auditioning?
SC: I think she’d been cast for a full year by then. They’d been auditioning the entire world for Billy Dunne. I reckon I was the last person. The way I saw it was not that I was the right person, it was that I was the last person. I’d never set foot in a recording studio before this but neither had Riley so I think there was this kindred connection between the two of us knowing we were doing this together.
MC: The storyline has a lot of similarities to Fleetwood Mac making the album Rumours in the ’70s and being able to put out amazing music, while also being completely dysfunctional behind the scenes. Did you draw upon knowledge of Fleetwood Mac for the role of Billy?
SC: Absolutely. Stevie Nicks was always at the forefront and that’s certainly the vibe we went for with Riley’s Daisy. Lindsey Buckingham was very reserved…almost stoic next to her. I think we all took little pieces of them and then other musicians. A big one for me was Bruce Springsteen. I spent hours and hours watching footage of him performing live.
MC: What does life look like for you when you’re not working?
SC: I’ve got two kids and they’re both very full on and energetic and boisterous. I’m a single dad, so I’m outnumbered. Their mum lives close by and we’re a family despite being in two households. But it’s the best. It’s always an adventure and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Daisy Jones & The Six is out now on Amazon Prime.