27 Women Who Worked On ‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ Got Emmy Nominations
Hello Sunshine is dedicated to putting women at the center of every story they tell. The Reese Witherspoon-founded media company is also known for hiring many women behind the scenes.
In the case of the recent Prime Video hit Daisy Jones & The Six, 27 women who worked on the limited series received Emmy nominations. For many, this was their first time getting awards recognition from the Television Academy.
These talented women have worked in the business, honing their craft for decades. In speaking with several of the cast and crew, it’s clear there was something special about working on this show.
The series is based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which climbed to No. 1 on Amazon’s bestsellers list following the show’s March 3 premiere.
Reid’s book initially landed at Hello Sunshine in 2017 when Scott Neustadter was sent the manuscript pre-publication and sans publisher and brought it to his wife Lauren, who had recently become Witherspoon’s producing partner (she is currently President of Film & Television).
When asked her thoughts on the plethora of nominations, Neustadter said the years-long journey was the definition of a team effort. “Every person who worked on it put their whole self into the show. When we received the nomination for Best Limited Series, Scott and I screamed out loud. It was an incredibly meaningful acknowledgment by the Academy and our peers, and it was earned by every team member, from the writers to the cast and crew, to our music producers, to our editors, and beyond.”
Regarding the first-time nominations, she added that the incredible female department heads deserve recognition. “Many things have been profoundly meaningful about this experience, and the Emmy accolades touched us all so deeply. The fact that most of the nominations went to first-time female Emmy nominees is especially significant to the team at Hello Sunshine. We had incredible department heads on this show, including many women who’ve worked in this industry for decades. Seeing them earn this richly deserved recognition because of their outstanding work on this series means the world to all of us.”
Though the book is about a fictional 1970s band, this group of actors morphed into a real band during filming. They went to Band Camp, and stars-slash-lead-singers Riley Keough (as Daisy Jones) and Sam Claflin (as Billy Dunne) took their first singing lesson together.
Quickly, comparisons were made between Daisy and Billy’s feuding relationship and that of Fleetwood Mac and the heated relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. Those behind the series say the duo is included in the amalgamation of influences. The story, however, is not based on them.
Keough, who received her first Emmy nomination for lead actress, said in an interview before the Hollywood strike that Daisy is an amalgamation of three incredible female artists. Nicks is undoubtedly in the mix, but she added Linda Ronstadt and Cher as influences who equally inspired her.
Recently, Nicks applauded the series on Instagram, saying she loved it and that she knew her bandmate, the late Christine McVie, would have too. Lauren said Nicks’s post made all their hearts collectively skip a beat. “Daisy Jones & The Six was always meant to be a celebration of the era and an homage to the musicians who made extraordinary music and blazed remarkable trails, and of course, she was someone we all greatly admired. Having Stevie say she watched the series twice and loved it was beyond our wildest dreams.”
Within 24 hours of its premiere, the 10-episode Amazon limited series broke many records, topping television and music charts, making Daisy Jones & The Six the first fictional band to hit No. 1.
The series hit No. 1 on Amazon Prime Video’s Top 10 list in the U.S., and the show’s accompanying album Aurora made it to No. 1 in the U.S. on iTunes. The album’s vinyl version also nabbed the No. 1 slot on Amazon. There are 11 original songs on the album, produced by Blake Mills, with additional production by Tony Berg.
Attention to detail led to the plethora of awards attention. Costume designer Denise Wingate, who has been in the Costume Designers Guild for 33 years, told me Daisy Jones and the Six is the highlight of her career. “I am so incredibly proud of this show and the people who worked on it, and I’m so thrilled to receive my first Emmy nomination!”
Wingate’s love of 1970s fashion and Reid’s book made this a dream job. Every weekend, she searched vintage stores, online shops, estate sales, and flea markets to find the perfect pieces. She culled together over 1,500 costume changes, but Daisy’s outfit in the final concert scene is a favorite. “Riley came up with the inspiration of ‘Gold Dust Woman’ after listening to the song one day, so we found a vintage Halston gold lamé caftan and cut it down the middle to make a cape and put it over a vintage gold metallic crocheted dress. The night we shot the scene in New Orleans, a storm was rolling in, and it was warm and windy. When she raised her arms the first time, the cape blew open, and the light hit the gold fabric. Everyone gasped. It was definitely a drop-the-mic moment.”
Production designer Jess Kender, who’s been designing for 19 years, pulled from prop houses in L.A. and New Orleans and said her hunt took her to some unexpected places. “We based Teddy’s house off of Quincy Jones, and our set decorator, Lisa Clark, knew she had to have a Percival Lafer Brazilian sofa in our color palette that looked new to bring the house together. She searched for months and finally scored one on Craigslist, of all places!” Her team also hunted through estate sales and eBay. “Working on this show was already a dream job; being recognized by the Academy and our peers is the icing on my already favorite cake.”
Scott Neustadter co-created the series with Michael H. Weber, and the two wrote the pilot episode. He executive produced and served as co-showrunner alongside Will Graham, who also served as an executive producer. Lauren became an executive producer alongside Witherspoon for Hello Sunshine and Brad Mendelsohn for Circle of Confusion.
In an interview before the Hollywood strike, Neustadter told me why he fell in love with the book. “I enjoy writing about complicated relationships and love stories where the people themselves are the obstacles to their happiness. If you can sprinkle in a little pop music, even better.”
As for the numerous nominations, he added, “From the beginning, we all knew this was never going to be an easy show to make, from finding a group of actors who could believably portray rock stars to inventing the music they would then have to learn, to creating their look in a convincing and authentic way to ultimately building out their entire 1970s world in modern-day practical locations! Everyone involved, especially these incredible women, was doing things they hadn’t done before, things they weren’t even sure could be done. But the harder the task, the harder they worked. I’m not surprised to see them recognized, but I am over the moon because no one deserves it more.” (Disclaimer: This interview was coordinated by personal PR reps in accordance with WGA strike guidelines).
Everyone I’ve interviewed said the cast and crew became a family throughout the six-year process of making this series; it took twice as long as it would have due to the pandemic. When asked if there could be a second season, Neustadter said he and his team saw this as a limited series with a definitive beginning, middle, and end. “That said, I’ve always believed that the best endings are those that answer all your questions but then ask some new ones. So, we’ll see.”
Camila Morrone, Will Harrison, Suki Waterhouse, Josh Whitehouse, Sebastian Chacon, Nabiyah Be, Tom Wright, and Timothy Olyphant star alongside Keough and Claflin with James Ponsoldt, Nzingha Stewart, and Will Graham directing.
Hello Sunshine received 11 Emmy nominations, nine for Daisy Jones & The Six. The company’s Hulu series Tiny Beautiful Things received two nominations for Kathryn Hahn (Lead Actress ) and Merritt Wever (Supporting Actress).
As for Daisy Jones & The Six, here are the 27 women who were nominated: Lead Actress Riley Keough; Supporting Actress Camila Morrone; Production Designer Jessica (Jess) Kender alongside Set Decorators Lisa Clark and Andi Brittan; Costume Designer Denise Wingate; Music Supervisor Frankie Pine; Re-Recording Mixer Lindsey Alvarez; Casting Directors Justine Arteta and Kim Davis-Wagner; Department Head Makeup Artist Rebecca Wachtel alongside Key Makeup Artist Sherri Simmons with Makeup Artists Kim Perrodin and Darla Edin; Executive Producers Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter; Co-Executive Producers Jenny Klein, Stacy Traub, Nzingha Stewart, Charmaine DeGraté, Susan Coyne, and Liz Koe; Supervising Producers Judalina Neira and Ashley Strumwasser; and Producers Josie Craven, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Amanda Kay Price.