How Showrunner Will Graham Made ‘Daisy Jones & the Six’ Feel Like Home

With each new installment of  Daisy Jones & the Six, showrunner Will Graham finds himself on social media, perusing fan Twitter threads and soaking in the reaction to his latest Prime Video series. “You spend years building a house, and you have no idea if anyone’s going to want to move in,” he tells Vanity Fair on a recent Zoom call. “Then fans move in and make it their own, and move around all the furniture, and ask questions about why this is on the wall. But they live there, and it’s such an incredible experience.”

It’s that very investment that makes Daisy Jones equally fun and terrifying, says Graham, who also executive produces the series and directs episode seven.

Adapted from Taylor Jenkins Reid’s best-selling novel about a Fleetwood Mac-esque ’70s rock band, the author gave Graham, as well as cocreators Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, free rein. “Taylor said from the start, ‘Look, in order to be good, the show is going to have to be its own thing,’” Graham says. “So what was important to her was that we not change the characters, which none of us ever wanted to do because that’s why we’re here anyway.”

When shaping Daisy, the enigmatic lead singer brought to life onscreen by Riley Keough, Graham looked to some of the most adored—and analyzed—women in music. “Daisy’s really struggling with the nature of her own genius, and in part she needs Billy (played by Sam Claflin) as kinetic energy to get her to really sit down and write the songs that she’s capable of writing,” Graham says. “What she has to do to really face her own voice and become the full artist of Daisy Jones the same way that Stevie Nicks did is a fascinating story.”

In the show’s seventh episode, where Daisy retreats to Greece after a bruising Rolling Stone story, Graham used Joni Mitchell as a blueprint, reading about “moments where she really wanted to throw herself into romance and fans, and then moments where she sort of retreated to her land in Canada and had to run away from people for a bit.” 

But most of episode seven belongs to emerging disco queen Simone Jackson (Nabiyah Be), a relatively minor character in the novel that bursts to life in the series. “In the first conversation I had with Taylor, I said, ‘What would you want to see more of in the show that you didn’t get to do in the book?’ And she said more of Simone,” Graham says. The showrunner, who identifies as queer, reveled in the opportunity to explore how disco was born from predominantly Black and queer spaces. “We really wanted to give Simone a joy that she finds in these clubs and in the music. She’s someone who’s been looking for her voice, and she finds her community—she falls in love with someone and finds herself as an artist all in the same moment.”

Lacey Terrell/Prime Video

Graham was able to recreate this communal atmosphere when filming the episode’s final scenes on the Greek island of Hydra. While shooting club scenes that were meant to take place in New York, production worked to fill the scene with real queer extras. “We reached out to the African immigrant communities in Athens and had this amazing experience on set where basically a lot of them were saying, we don’t have this place in real life,” Graham says. “So making those sequences became a real parallel to the show of people finding a safe space. It was really emotional.”

Exploration of a found family is a theme in Graham’s work, including his TV reimagining of another beloved title, A League of Their Own. He and cocreator Abbi Jacobson centered their version of the story on queer, racially diverse women. “I love to write about people who care about something more than they care about themselves,” Graham says. “That’s also very often true of queer people. We don’t always have a choice, right? But writing about people who are obsessed with something bigger than themselves in a sense means you’re writing about crazy people who would do anything for baseball, or do anything for music, which is incredibly fun.”


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