The Daisy Jones Adaptation Did Camila’s Character So Wrong
Justice for the story’s true protagonist.
It’s a tale as old as time — or at least as old as streaming: You love a book, it gets made into a highly anticipated Amazon Studios series, and it… doesn’t meet your expectations. I know, I know: Despite accelerating timelines and cutting out a few side characters, Daisy Jones & The Six is actually relatively faithful to the Taylor Jenkins Reid novel on which it’s based. But there is one major flaw, which is that the adaptation simply does not do justice to the true protagonist of Daisy Jones & The Six, aka Mrs. Camila Dunne.
Warning: Spoilers for Daisy Jones & The Six, both the novel and the TV series, follow. In the novel, Camila is the strong, smart, and sexy wife of The Six’s frontman, Billy Dunne. She stands by her husband through his struggles with fame, substance use disorder, and eventual infidelity with his collaborator, Daisy Jones. Despite her making sacrifice after sacrifice in order to support her loved ones, Camila never falls into the category of the clueless, pitiable rockstar’s wife, which she so easily could have. Sure, she’s willing to look the other way when things go wrong, but her eyes are always wide open. Throughout the book, she’s always the ride-or-die that Billy — and the whole band, really — needs to survive.
In the show, most of this remains true. Model-turned-actor Camila Morrone plays the character beautifully, embodying her graceful, quiet confidence in a manner fans couldn’t have even dreamed of in their wildest fan-casting. She’s cool and collected, yet utterly devoted to Billy and the family they create together. Like her counterpart on the page, Show Camila serves as the steadfast guiding light of the group.
And yet, the show falls short of properly honoring her, starting with her diminished agency and identity separate from the band in Episode 1. In the book, when Billy and his buds head off to California to pursue a music career, she stays behind in Pittsburgh to keep working and taking care of her family. She only joins them out West once Billy tells her they got a record deal and proposes to her over the phone. In the show, though, she’s with them from the start, only taking one night to stick to her original plans before hopping in the group’s cigarette-smoke-clouded VW bus and acting as the band’s unofficial first manager, calling up music producers and following the band around L.A. like a happy little groupie.
The show somewhat rectifies this when the band chooses a new name in Episode 2. Originally called The Dunne Brothers, the five musicians decide to call themselves The Six, with Camila being the honorary sixth member. It seems like a sweet tribute to her character, but really, it’s not much more than a convenient fix to avoid a plot hole. In the book, there are six band members, hence the name The Six. But the show wrote out the sixth member, likely in the name of simplifying the messy comings and goings of some of the musicians. So, the show had no choice but to give Camila a nod in order to make the name The Six make sense. And considering Camila still gets sidelined from the band’s big decisions throughout the series — despite all her work behind the scenes — writing her into the origin story of The Six’s name is sadly just an empty gesture.
TBH, I should have known book fans would be in for disappointment even before this — specifically in Episode 1, the moment The Six’s bassist, Eddie Roundtree, longingly muses of Camila, “You couldn’t help but fall in love with her” with a yearning gleam in his eyes. Eddie’s saltiness toward Billy is a driving factor in both the book and the show, but in the former, the tension is solely due to band stuff — Billy being the frontman and making all the decisions while Eddie stewed in the background. The show adds another layer to the animosity by turning Camila into Eddie’s unrequited love. At Camila and Billy’s wedding, Eddie is a conflicted, melancholic mess — happy to see her happy but heartbroken that it wasn’t him making her so. When Billy cheats on Camila on their first tour and is absent during the first months of their daughter’s life, Eddie seethes, knowing he’d treat her better. This alone is fine — in fact, it makes Eddie a sort of surrogate for all the viewers who also want to protect Camila at all costs. But what comes next between Camila and Eddie crosses a line.
The series doesn't show Camila cheating on Billy with Eddie, but their intense stares at the bar, then the cut to Camila on her emotional drive home from whatever happens, is enough of a giveaway. Her somber talking-head admission afterward cements it: “There were just so many secrets. I think I just needed one of my own.”
Listen, Billy cheats on Camila in the book and the show. A lot. And while retaliation-cheating isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to deal with infidelity, Camila is well within her right to get hers. In fact, fans clocked the seeds planting for a Camila-Eddie hookup back when the first episodes dropped March 3, and many were supportive from the start.
But hooking up with a member of The Six, something that would threaten both the band and her marriage? Book Camila would never. In the book, it’s implied she cheats on Billy when she has a four-hour “lunch” with a former flame from high school. Billy is aware of the outing, and while it hurts him to consider what might have gone down between them, he knows he’s hurt Camila more, so he never brings it up. This fulfills Camila’s need to have a secret of her own, to feel like she’s not helpless as her husband falls for another woman, without risking blowing up her whole life like she does in the show.
Finally, there’s the portrayal of Camila’s behavior toward Daisy. In the grand scheme, the elements that make Camila the true hero of the story remain in the show — namely, her kindness toward Daisy despite knowing Billy had feelings for her, and her selfless encouragement of the two’s reconnection after her untimely death. But Show Camila seems to be a lot more overtly jealous of Daisy than Book Camila. A lot of this can be attributed to the visual nature of the adaptation: Because the book is told as an oral history, Camila’s lingering stares at Daisy and Billy aren’t mentioned, nor are her tear-brimmed eyes as she processes her husband’s feelings for another woman. In the show, it’s all laid out for fans to observe, and it’s impossible to not pity her. Even more damning, the show leans hard into selling Billy and Daisy’s connection, encouraging fans to root for the dysfunctional duo. Even though Morrone makes a meal out of Camila’s layered personality, the character often still ends up exactly where she doesn’t belong, as the stereotypical bitter wife, the odd point out of the love triangle.
Don’t get me wrong, Camila is still the baddest b*tch around. Most of the show’s changes to Camila don’t really affect who she is at her core — a fierce friend, loving wife, devoted mother, and talented photographer, who ultimately drives the story forward and wraps it up with a beautiful bow, even after her death. But the differences in the details do end up chipping away at all the little elements that made Camila the beating heart of the story, and for that reason, I think she deserved so much better.