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Camila Morrone is used to seeing photos of herself — before transitioning to acting full-time, she starred for years in campaigns for top brands like Loewe, Coach and Topshop. But when a billboard for her new show, Daisy Jones & The Six, went up on Sunset Boulevard, it felt like a wholly unique experience. “This is my first global press tour, so to hear from all my family and friends who have seen it and been posing in front of it is surreal,” she says. “My chiropractor sent me a photo of the billboard!”
With Daisy Jones, the story of a fictional band that shoots to stardom and then tragically fizzles out, the actress is pivoting from a résumé of independent films to a project on a massive global scale. Prime Video has spent more than three years readying the final product, which shot in L.A., New Orleans and Greece. And the Taylor Jenkins Reid novel on which the limited series is based has sold more than a million copies, making it 2023’s most anticipated adaptation so far.
Morrone — who grew up in L.A. with her Argentine parents — plays Camila Dunne, the wife of lead guitarist Billy (Sam Claflin); she’s the only steady ship in a storm of addiction and difficult personalities, as well as the third leg of a love triangle with Billy and Daisy (Riley Keough).
The most striking part of Morrone’s performance is the power she brings to a character who could easily lose agency — long-suffering she is not. “It was really important to me that this character not be a passive wife,” she says. “I also didn’t want her to be bitter and resentful. I thought of her as a woman who can look at the grand scheme of her life and decide what she wants out of it. She can handle complex things with grace and maturity.”
As your first major role, what stood out for you about the audition process?
I heard from one of my best friends that this book was going to be casting. She had read it and thought the character, who was coincidentally named Camila, was something I would be so right for. I was able to get an audition, and I originally picked up the book with the intention to get an idea of what it was about, so that I could go into the audition pretending like I’d read the whole book. (Laughs.) But then I binged the entire thing. They liked me in that first round with the casting director, and then they brought me back for a chemistry read with Riley [Keough] and the writers and producer. I felt like I had an instant chemistry with Riley, and a comfortability with her that would play in my favor in winning them over.
It feels poignant that your chemistry read was with Riley, not your love interest …
Yeah, it’s funny that even though this is a love story between Camila and Billy, that what got me the job is my dynamic with Riley, as Daisy. I think that although it isn’t what the story is technically about, it is really important that these two women love each other in order for it to work. They had to have respect for each other; I think Camila idolizes Daisy, and Daisy looks up to Camila; they both have attributes that the other doesn’t.
What were your first impressions of Sam Claflin as Billy?
This was the first project where I was allowed to be part of the casting process, where I came on before someone else. Riley and I did chemistry reads with more than a dozen potential Billys. I remember Sam was sort of thrust into this process overnight, he got into the audition process really quickly, and then they were kind of vetting him. I remember doing a scene in an office at Paramount, where I tell him to pick up our baby — we found a blanket and I folded it into a baby [shape] and I’m holding it in my arms for the scene, and even though all these executives were there watching us, there was an intimacy between us. It was a sort of instant scene partnership and we felt like buddies already. We went on to lean on each other throughout the whole show for guidance or to get through tough moments. He really was my partner on this.
Do you think any elements of the character rubbed off on you?
Something I saw in Camila that I also see in myself is this kind of unconditional love. There are very few people in my life who I would say are like family to me, but those that are, I give an unwavering and devout love to. I think all my other attributes are a work in progress, but that is really one of my strengths. She also taught me a lot — I think what I learned while making this show is that nothing is black and white. We as a society have a tendency to think about love and partnership and marriage as, it’s forever and relentless and has to be perfect, but I think that’s unrealistic.
It’s been almost four years since you booked the role. Were any of you ever worried that the show wouldn’t make it to fruition?
I think what’s really shocking is that all of the original castmembers who were booked in 2019 have stayed on. We didn’t lose anyone, even though there were so many moments where one of us could have fallen off and done another project. I spent the time during the COVID delays doing a lot of acting classes and learning to play guitar from scratch. I was also able to book the two projects that I went on to film after Daisy — Patricia Arquette’s directorial debut Gonzo Girl and Marmalade, opposite Joe Keery and Aldis Hodge. Amazon also set up these Zoom catch-up sessions for the cast, but we never needed it because we kept in contact on our own through our WhatsApp group.
What’s the group chat called?
We’ve been really active on it this week. It’s called Daisy Jones and the Nine, because it’s me, Sam, Nabiyah [Be], Riley, Sebastian [Chacon], Suki [Waterhouse], Will [Harrison], Gavin [Drea], and Josh [Whitehouse].
What was it like to be put in old-age makeup for the scenes that take place in the present day?
They were kind of traumatic — to look in the mirror in the trailer and be like, “Wow, this is going to be me in the blink of an eye.” I personally struggle with watching myself on camera in general. It’s like listening to your own voice in a voice note, it’s a torturous thing. I can’t imagine watching my performance as an actor and sitting back and going, oh, I’m so wonderful! (Laughs). I look great at that angle. Luckily, I was staying with [co-star] Suki [Waterhouse] when Amazon gave us all the episodes, so we were able to binge them together. I have a selfie as proof of my reaction to watching episode 10 — it’s crazy because I of course know what happens and I remember the lines, yet I was still so emotional and unwell watching the finale.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
A version of this story first appeared in the March 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
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