Dominique Fishback went from googling free acting classes to starring in Donald Glover's psychological thriller 'Swarm'
32-year-old actress and playwright Dominique Fishback is making headlines for her performance in "Swarm"
Starring as lead character Dre, Fishback takes viewers into the mind of a pop star-obsessed serial killer
Fishback specifically chose the role in order to challenge her own artistry
If you haven't heard the name Dominique Fishback by now, it's time to start paying attention. The actress and playwright has been gaining praise for star-making performances in shows and movies like "Show Me a Hero" and "Judas and the Black Messiah." Her most recent starring role as Dre, an obsessed pop star fan, in Amazon Prime's "Swarm," has many viewers and critics talking about the psychological impact of extreme fandom. The show is also proof of Fishback's wide range as an actress.
In a conversation with Keke Palmer for Interview magazine, Fishback — who has also starred in "The Hate U Give" and "Project Power" — revealed her start in acting began with googling free acting programs in New York City as a teenager, which led to auditioning for a Shakespeare company. When Fishback didn't land a spot, she opted for a free two-week seminar that focused on musical theater, acting, and writing. The experience motivated her to pursue acting at Pace University.
"For my thesis I wrote a one-woman show called 'Subverted' which is about the destruction of Black identity in America. Different casting directors saw me in that and I ended up auditioning for David Simon's miniseries 'Show Me a Hero,'" she explained to Palmer. She also revealed that her thesis is now being executive produced by Jamie Foxx as a special. "He saw some stuff from Subverted and was like, 'It has to be everywhere,'" Fishback said.
Prior to her role as a serial killer in 'Swarm,' Fishback often played well-liked characters, but never ones that are dark or the anti-hero. In fact, Donald Glover, who co-created the show with Janine Nabers, originally wanted Fishback to play Marissa, Dre's sister who is "easy to love" and "very popular." To this, she told Glover: "I want to play the other role because I never want to catch up to myself as an actor."
Catching up to herself is something Fishback takes seriously, using journaling as a way to prepare for her roles. Fishback said that she often takes on the persona of her characters when she journals. In the HBO mini-series, "Show Me a Hero," in which she played Billie Rowan, a troubled young mother, David Simon, the show's creator, told The New York Times that Fishback prepared for the character "aggressively."
"At one point, my co-producer showed me a composition book that Dominique had filled with thoughts and questions about her character and her character's background. I mean, this was beyond preparation… She lives in the pocket of any character you write for her."
Her next role will be widely different from Dre as Elena, a young researcher for a natural history museum in the $200 million blockbuster "Transformers: Rise of the Beasts," premiering later this summer. And after that"Maybe the star of a rom-com, she told Elle Magazine. Whatever Fishback lands next, the 32-year-old actress is destined for greatness.
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