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February 28, 2023

Amazon's 'Daisy Jones & the Six' adaptation led by Oscar-nominated screenwriter from the Jersey Shore

Scott Neustadter, an alum of Atlantic City High School and the University of Pennsylvania, co-created the highly-anticipated TV show

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daisy jones amazon prime scott neustadter Lacey Terrell/Prime Video

Amazon's adaptation of the New York Times bestselling novel "Daisy Jones & the Six" premieres on Friday, March 3. A writer and creator for the highly-anticipated series is Scott Neustadter, who grew up at the Jersey Shore and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.

A highly-anticipated book adaptation premieres on Amazon Prime this week, and a Jersey Shore native was instrumental in bringing the story from the page to the screen.

"Daisy Jones & the Six," based on the 2019 New York Times bestselling novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, debuts on Friday, March 3, with new episodes released each week until March 24. A co-creator, co-showrunner and executive producer for the TV show is Scott Neustadter, who grew up in Margate, New Jersey.

Featuring original music, the TV show follows the rise and fall of an iconic, fictional 1970s band fronted by feuding lead singers Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne.

Things fall apart in spectacular fashion for the band, who suddenly break up after a big performance. Decades later, the band members agree to tell the whole story for a documentary. The drama and meteoric rise of the fictional Daisy Jones & the Six is reminiscent of the real-life story of Fleetwood Mac, a band which had major hits and juicy drama behind the scenes.

It was Neustadter's love of '70s rock that initially sparked his interest in the project.

"I'm known around these parts as a big music nerd," Neustadter told the Press of Atlantic City.

Neustadter, 45, is a 1994 graduate of Atlantic City High School and a 1998 graduate of University of Pennsylvania. Now based in LA, he has worked as a writer on films like "(500) Days of Summer," "The Fault in Our Stars" and "The Spectacular Now." His screenplay for the 2017 film "The Disaster Artist" earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. 

He often works with his longtime writing partner, Michael H. Weber, who is on board for "Daisy Jones & the Six" as well. For the upcoming Amazon series, though, Neustadter is also working with a new collaborator — his wife, who is serving as an executive producer. 

Lauren Neustadter leads the film and TV division of Reese Witherspoon's production company Hello Sunshine. Through Hello Sunshine, she has acted as executive producer of the Emmy-winning Apple TV+ series "The Morning Show," as well as a producer on the 2022 film adaptation of "Where the Crawdads Sing."

In 2017, Scott Neustadter received a call from Reid's manager, asking if he'd want to take a look at her unpublished manuscript about a fictional 1970s rock band resembling Fleetwood Mac. While Neustadter had never read any of Reid's novels, he had said back in 2017 that his dream project would be a story based on Fleetwood Mac's album "Rumours."

Neustadter remembered a conversation with Witherspoon about their mutual love of Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, so he quickly forwarded the manuscript to his wife to share with her boss. Witherspoon was immediately interested, and the couple worked to get Reid on board as well.

“I told her I have prepared my whole life to write this,” Neustadter told New York Times

Reid, who also wrote “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” which is slated for its own adaptation on Netflix, agreed to have Hello Sunshine spearhead the project with Neustadter as a creator, and Amazon signed on, too. 

All of this happened before "Daisy Jones & the Six" was even published in 2019 by Penguin Random House. After facing postponements and and restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show wrapped filming in June 2022The cast is led by Riley Keough — the granddaughter of Elvis Presley — as Daisy Jones and Sam Claflin as Billy Dunne. 

It wouldn't be a fictional band without music, and the actors underwent intensive musical training to be able to sing and play their own instruments during performances on the show. The fictional band even has its own album, "Aurora," set for release on March 3, featuring 11 songs written in collaboration with artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Marcus Mumford. Two singles — "Regret Me" and "Look At Us Now (Honeycomb)" — can be streamed now.

There's still a few days left to binge-read Reid's novel before the first three episodes drop on Amazon Prime this Friday.

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