Every so often, a body of work comes along that begs the question, what the f*ck did I just watch?! Donald Glover and Janine Naber’s have done exactly that with the enthralling Black woman-led serial killer drama Swarm. If you’re one of the millions of viewers who came to watch Chloe Bailey and Damson Idris get it in and stayed for the credits, you definitely didn’t know what you were signing up for.
I didn’t intend on watching Swarm. Come on, it’s called Swarm, eerily similar to Beyoncé and the Beyhive, starring one of Beyoncé’s Parkwood artists. Silly. But that was the brilliance in it. At no point did director Donald Glover ever play coy about the dangerously close depictions to Beyoncé. Basically, if you think it’s about Beyoncé, that’s because it is. And if you didn’t get the hint, he reiterated it with the disclaimer, “This is not a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is intentional” at the top of every episode.
Swarm is dark, deliberate, and debilitating. Lead actress Dominique Fishback, whose track record boasts strong performances in Judas and the Black Messiah, Project Power, and The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, serves up a master class in acting in the unforgettably sinister Dre.
The swell around Swarm hasn’t died down. Here are a few reasons everyone is still talking about the killer series.
Give Dominique Fishback All The Things
Dominique Fishback will be a frontrunner for best actress come award season. If not, we ride at dawn. We can now take “rising” from in front of Dominique’s name because she has arrived. Dominique transforms into Dre, the sister of Marissa (played by Bailey). Dre is obsessed with Ni’Jah and, we eventually learn, Marissa. Dre and Marissa are inseparable until Marissa commits suicide after her overly flirty and fine boyfriend Khalid (played by Idris) cheats on her. Marissa’s death seemingly sends Dre over the deep end. She retaliates by killing Khalid and binging on a meal after. Dominique pours into Dre to convey her menacing and juvenile demeanor at times. ‘Who’s your favorite artist?’ might go down in history as one of the most terrifying questions of all time.
The Sex Scene
Damson Idris and Chloe Bailey’s sex scene. Well-played Donald Glover, well played. Not because it pairs two of Black Hollywood’s most gorgeous fixtures in the most compromising position, but because it worked. It draws you in. The steamy sex scene has received tons of interest and just as much backlash, even sparking a colorism conversation about the difference between her going nude on the silver screen vs. Halle Berry doing the same in Monster’s Ball.
In an interview with Deadline, Chloe revealed, “I was very scared because I haven’t had that many partners.” She added, “I’m not like that, that sexual and open. Damson made it very comfortable, you know, there were limited people on set.”
The Co-Creator Is A Black Woman
The character Dre existed in Janine Nabers mind before she put her pen to paper. According to the Swarm co-creator, in an interview with Vulture, Dre “is the character I wanted to write for a long time.” Nabers explained how Glover pitched the show concept to her after the filming of season four of FX’s Atlanta. “I get this call from Donald one night. I’m thinking it’s about the episode I wrote for season four, but he’s like, “Hey, I have this crazy idea about a superfan. I want this to be the show after Atlanta and I want you to write it.”
And that she did. Naber’s writing has received praise. Even Beyoncé has watched Swarm. According to Nabers, “She knows about the show.” She added, “The legal stuff we did was very calculated, purposeful, and thoughtful,” Nabers said. “If it happens, you can write about it. When things happen out in the world and you’re a public person — legally, we’re not lying.”
Nabers has been on the come up in the TV and film space since her mainstream debut on HBO’s Watchmen. She was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Awards for Best New Series and Best Drama Series and won the Best New Series award in 2020.
Malia Obama Has A Writing Credit On Swarm
Malia Obama expressed interest in the entertainment field during internships throughout her school career. She was a production assistant for Halle Berry’s, Extant. And she made her way to the writer’s room of Swarm.
“Some of her pitches were wild as hell, and they were just so good and so funny,” Nabers told TeenVogue about Malia. “She’s an incredible writer. She brought a lot to the table. She’s really, really dedicated to her craft.”
Malia lent her pen to the fifth episode, titled “Girl, Bye,” credited as “Malia Ann.” In a 2022 interview with Vanity Fair, Glover had all good things to say about the former First daughter. “She’s just like, an amazingly talented person. She’s really focused, and she’s working really hard.”
‘Swarm’: Why Everyone Is Flocking To The New Killer Series was originally published on hellobeautiful.com
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