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Riley Keough turned up in Hollywood on Thursday night to attend the world premiere of her new Prime Video TV series, Daisy Jones & the Six, marking her first red carpet appearance since the sudden death of her mother, Lisa Marie Presley, on Jan. 12. It was quite the scene, too, as the TCL Chinese Theatre was packed with guests dressed to match the ’70s glam dress code while Keough and her co-stars were supported by a producing team that included Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon.
Keough, wearing Schiaparelli Couture and accompanied by husband Ben Smith-Petersen, toplines the series as Daisy Jones, the co-lead singer of a ’70s rock band. Based on the best-selling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Daisy Jones & the Six details the rise and precipitous fall of that band, from early days toiling away at small gigs through a meteoric rise that culminates in a sold-out show at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Following that performance, the band shocked fans by calling it quits. Keough stars opposite Sam Claflin, Camila Morrone, Will Harrison, Suki Waterhouse, Josh Whitehouse, Sebastian Chacon, Nabiyah Be, Tom Wright and Timothy Olyphant, among others.
In a brief interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Keough was upbeat and expressed enthusiasm for being part of the Amazon Studios musical series, going so far as to say that she knew she was going to play Daisy Jones before she read a single page.
“It’s really weird,” explained Keough, flanked by a personal publicist and her stylist Jamie Mizrahi. “I knew that I wanted to play her before I knew what the book was about or had even read the script or anything. I just heard the title and thought, ‘I’m gonna play her.’ I just knew I was gonna play her. It was the same feeling I had when I knew that I was going to marry my husband.”
Daisy Jones asks a lot of Keough as a performer as she’s required to play everything from dramatic moments opposite bandmembers and record executives to epic scenes strutting her stuff across a stadium stage while belting into a microphone. As for how she was able to pull it off, Keough was quick to “give all that credit” to the show’s “wonderful music team” that includes Tony Berg and Blake Mills.
“They were teaching us our songs, and we were in band camp,” explained Keough, whose family tree features one of the greatest American rock stars of all time in Elvis Presley. “They essentially turned us into rock stars.”
Keough’s Daisy Jones & the Six collaborators said they had a similar feeling about her while casting the show — they just knew she was the one. Prior to Daisy Jones, Keough’s credits included Zola, The Terminal List, American Honey, The Girlfriend Experience, Mad Max: Fury Road, It Comes at Night and Logan Lucky, among others.
“I cannot speak any more highly of Riley Keogh,” praised executive producer Brad Mendelsohn of Circle of Confusion. “She is transformative in this show. When she auditioned for us, we didn’t look any further. She was our Daisy Jones. Her reps called us and said that she had read the book, and she is Daisy Jones. We all said, ‘Yes, of course, let’s meet her.’ And we literally did not audition another person.”
Reid said Keough was the perfect fit for the character she created. “What’s really gratifying is that she made it all look so effortless, and I know it’s not easy. She’s carrying so many of these scenes and yet she makes it look like it costs her nothing at all. It’s just who she is. I mean this so sincerely, I think she is one of the most talented actresses of this generation,” gushed the best-selling author. “I know that some of the actors had to learn swagger, and it feels like that is in Riley’s DNA. What Riley has that cannot be taught is that she’s cool. That is just not something that anyone can ever fake. She’s just cool.”
James Ponsoldt who directed the first five episodes and serves as an executive producer, said the series doesn’t work without the most talented actors, and that’s what they had with Keough and Claflin.
“The show doesn’t work if you don’t have someone who is dynamic, charismatic and soulful, and someone who can also be that vulnerable in front of so many people. That’s what we look for in rock stars. We want someone who can be an ecstatic preacher, a shaman, a televangelist, someone who can bear their heart out. Those are the people we connect with, and Riley gets it — she really gets it. She and Sam ping-pong off each other, and it’s really electric because they’re both lead singers. Lead singers are used to being the center of any conversation and so much of this is about two people learning to swallow their egos, listen to the person next to them and try to harmonize to create something better than they could on their own. They pulled it off.”
Daisy Jones & the Six premieres on Prime Video on March 3, with new episodes released every Friday through March 24.
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