Swarm, the new Donald Glover series on Prime Video, is going to cause a lot of conversation– and stars Dominique Fishback and Chloe Bailey know that it has shock value.
In the series, Fishback stars as Dre, a woman obsessed with a Beyoncé-esque star, and her obsession leads the series into a world of darkness.
The series, co-created by Glover with Atlanta writer and producer Janine Nabers, Dre is at the center of a story set in the extremes of stan culture– though the story isn’t exactly about standom.
The audience follows certain choices that Dre makes, and Fishback explained to us why it was so important to see a Black woman in a role like this.
“As actors, we’re [told that] you cannot judge your character,” she explained in Shadow and Act interview along with Bailey and Nabers. “If you start off from a judging perspective, then you’re gonna do a disservice to the character because they may be judging themselves, but they still do the actions that they do. So in order to be the actor that I wanna be, I had to be a clear enough channel. I journaled before [taking on the role] as myself and anything that gave me pause, I asked myself questions about it. ‘Was it how I felt about it? Was it society’s perception? Why did I have pause about this?’– in order to identify those things and then move it through me so that I could have fun and play. Because like Janine said, we don’t get these opportunities. I watched movies like Monster with Charlize Theron, Boys Don’t Cry with Hillary Swank and even Heath Ledger as The Joker and being like–‘Wow, I want an opportunity to do that. Can I stretch myself as an artist?’ And I’m so thankful that Donald and Janine took something that we can identify in our time now and in our culture now and just gave it a spin and heightened it and made it a psychological thriller.”
Speaking to Fishback, Bailey said, “You did it so beautifully. Even just the part I was able to witness. It was just magical. And even after the first episode we watched together, yes I was in tears and I knew what happened…but her performance!”
The singer-actress also added, “I think what society has loved about Black Mirror so much is that it takes it real-life things and what you could take from that and it heightens it and creates like an alternate universe, but it has real underlying issues under that. Because a lot of times, for people to even pay attention to a message that they might not [listen to], [it needs] to have shock value. And even just based on the trailer, people think it is about something that it’s really not. It’s not about a fan base or anything wrong with that. It’s about Dre’s journey and Marissa’s journey with her and their sisterhood and the lengths Dre will go to to protect her sister no matter what. That’s what it’s about–mental health and sisterhood. So if you think about it, what I think Janine has done such a great job [as did] Donald and even Malia Obama and all the other writers, it’s almost like it within the black culture. It’s like our own Black Mirror.”
Watch the full interview above.
The full season of Swarm is now streaming on Prime Video.