A massive adjustment. Sam Claflin was going through major life changes — going through a divorce and becoming a single father — when he was cast as rock star Billy Dunne in Daisy Jones & the Six.
“I’d been through quite a lot personally at the time,” the Hunger Games actor, 36, told Variety in a feature story published on Wednesday, February 22. “I was in a really bad place.”
The England native announced in August 2019 that he and then-wife Laura Haddock split after six years of marriage. They share two children, son Pip, 7, and Margot, 5.
“Laura and I have decided to legally separate. We will move forward with nothing but love, friendship and a deep respect for one another, whilst we continue to raise our family together,” Claflin wrote in a statement via Instagram Story at the time.
Now, more than three years later, the Me Before You star reflected on the early days as a divorcée and a single dad. He explained to Variety: “I think I needed to work out a few kinks in my own life, to figure out who I was as this dad on my own in a house outnumbered by two toddlers. Then this job coming out the back of that was just the most fun, joyous fresh start.”
Prime Video’s Daisy Jones & the Six follows a 1970s rock band’s rise to fame and sudden breakup. Claflin plays lead singer Billy, who marries his hometown sweetheart, Camila (Camila Morrone), and welcomes a daughter amid his drug and alcohol addiction. As he tries to keep his substance abuse under control and his family together, he starts working with singer Daisy Jones (Riley Keough). Their lighting-in-a-bottle chemistry could make his band the best — and make his marriage fall apart.
Claflin couldn’t relate to Billy’s struggles with drugs and alcohol, but he certainly knew what it was like to struggle as a spouse and parent. “I was a husband. I’ve been through marriage and the struggle of juggling work, family life, home and being grounded,” he said. “The obstacles he has to overcome, like becoming a dad and the fear or anxiety that brings, feeling like you might fail. … His fear of failure is something that I can massively relate to — needing to feel approval and the fear of abandonment. I’ve been through this struggle. And I’m sure the struggle will continue.”
However, he believes Daisy Jones & the Six helped him get through the roughest part of his split. He was cast just a few months after he and Haddock confirmed their divorce, and the five-week prep for the drama turned into a year and a half amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think my relationship with myself is a lot better than it was,” Claflin said. “Before, I didn’t like who I was or what I had to say. Whereas now, after going through the journey of Billy Dunne, I realize how therapeutic or cathartic it was to tell a story that feels really authentic to me. It allowed me the opportunity to approach life differently.”
Prime Video’s Daisy Jones & the Six premieres Friday, March 3.
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