Awards Daily talks to director Nzingha Stewart of Amazon Prime’s Daisy Jones & The Six about creating rock authenticity and how she got that go-for-broke final performance from the cast in the finale, “Rock’n Roll Suicide.”
As someone who got her start directing music videos, Nzingha Stewart brought that comfortability and knack for directing musicians to Amazon Prime’s Daisy Jones & The Six, where she directed episodes 6, 8, 9, and 10.
“There are certain things I would look for in the performance of the actors,” says Stewart, “not so much in the singing or playing of the instruments. The pandemic gave us a lot more time to prepare them as musicians. And they knew how to do it by that point. It was making sure you stay in the body language of a musician. Certain things I realize about musicians—it often feels when I would direct music videos that I was auditioning for them. There is an energy that they have, like a quiet power [. . .] that’s a little bit different than actors.”
In the finale “Rock’n Roll Suicide,” the band performs with passion and desperation, without knowing it will be their final show. Stewart helped the actors reach this intensity by playing on their real-life affection and fondness for each other.
“By that point, we were nearing the end, and there was such a heightened emotion. One note I would often give Riley [Keough] is, ‘Think about your last day with these people, not in character, but it’s the last day you’ll see Sam [Claflin] or you’ll see Will [Harrison].’ It would always make emotion rise to the surface for her. So they were in that place where they were coming to the end, and they used it.”
I had the chance to chat with Stewart about bringing iconic scenes from the best-selling novel to life, how many takes it took to get that epic kiss between Billy and Daisy, and how basketball influenced a moment in the episode “Feels Like the First Time.” Watch the video interview below!