When Sam Claflin auditioned for Daisy Jones & the Six, a series based on Taylor Jenkins Reid's best-selling novel about a fictional rockband in 1970s LA, he had very little experience of singing or playing the guitar, and minimal knowledge of the music scene in which the story unfolds. But the British actor's charm and talents were enough to seal the deal and he was cast as egotistical frontman Billy Dunne.


But with only a handful of weeks to prepare before filming, Claflin didn't have a moment to spare – that is until the Covid pandemic hit and production was halted for a year and a half, which was a "blessing" in disguise.

"I think we were all grateful for the extra time," he explained. "For me, having never played guitar, having never been in a recording booth, having never been in a band or done much singing, it was honestly needed.

"When I think back, I can't imagine having shot the series when it was meant to have started. It would have only given us six weeks to try and encapsulate all those new skills and new relationships. It would have been a very different show."

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Daisy Jones and The Six - First Look
Daisy Jones & The Six: Sam Claflin as Billy. Prime Video

Despite Claflin's initial lack of musical ability, he was instantly drawn to Billy:

"Figuring out how to pursue the thing that you love while trying to sustain a relationship with someone you love, those are definitely things that I could lean into and parts of my life that I could draw from. There were so many beats and moments within the story that I could go, 'Oh my God, I've literally had this exact conversation' or 'I've been here!'

"He's not the most lovable character from the book among fans, but I definitely felt like I understood the meaning behind each decision that he made. I'm team Billy all the way. I think he's a very misunderstood character."

Part of that stems from his struggles with drugs and alcohol, which Claflin spent many hours interrogating in an effort to understand the man he was playing. As part of that, the cast were given a robust education on drugs and alcohol in that era by specialists.

"It was so eye-opening and such an interesting subject matter to delve into, and one that I will no doubt carry with me for the rest of my life," he said. "I'm fortunate to say that I don't have an addictive personality whatsoever, but it's definitely opened my eyes to the people that really have those struggles and understand why people have to be all or nothing”.

Sam Claflin as Billy in Daisy Jones & The Six.
Sam Claflin as Billy in Daisy Jones & The Six. Prime Video

The show also effectively explores what it means to be famous, including the pitfalls attached, and how certain personalities adapt or don't, which gave Claflin an opportunity to reflect on his own stardom.

"I've witnessed it among a few people I've worked with and worked opposite. I've seen them not be able to leave hotel rooms because there are paparazzi outside or a string of fans everywhere they go. They can't walk the street, they can't go shopping, they can't go and have a drink quietly with someone without it being a dating rumour. I've definitely seen that side of the world and I do not long to be a part of it.

"I feel like I've hit the sweet spot. Much beyond where I am, I think that's when you will lose sight of reality. I guess it depends on who you are surrounded by - if you're surrounded by people who are saying yes and enthusiastic about your rise for their own personal gain."

He went on to praise his inner circle for keeping him grounded, adding: "I don't live that lifestyle. I live a very, very normal life, but my job is just a very exciting adventure."

In a world where a more, more, more mentality is encouraged, Claflin remains an outlier.

"I feel like I've got to a place where I'm very happy," he said. "I don't have much ambition to achieve much more than I already have. I feel comfortable and you can't really ask for much more than that."

Daisy Jones & The Six is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video. Try Amazon Prime Video for free for 30 days.

Taylor Jenkins Reid's original book Daisy Jones & The Six is also available now.

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