I Genuinely Can't Watch "Swarm" The Same Way Again After Learning These Behind-The-Scenes Facts
🚨🚨🚨This post contains spoilers for Swarm🚨🚨🚨
Swarm, Prime Video's seven-episode take on stan culture, has only been streaming for about a week, but it's already gotten quite the reaction online.
Here are some things you might not know about it:
1.In case you couldn't tell, the show is heavily inspired by Beyoncé and her fanbase, the Beyhive.
Swarm's version of the singer, Ni'Jah, releases a visual album (à la Beyoncé's self-titled album in 2013), has a sister who fights her husband in an elevator (like the Solange and Jay-Z incident following 2014's Met Gala), has twins (Beyoncé had her twins in 2017), and is bitten at a party (like Beyoncé reportedly was in 2018).
2.Swarm is the first project in Donald Glover's development deal with Amazon Prime Video.
It was originally called Hive.
3.It's also the first of Glover's projects that he's worked only behind the camera on.
He's always acted in every movie or show he's directed, written, and/or produced until now.
4.Speaking of which, Glover directed the pilot of Swarm.
5.He and co-creator, Janine Nabers, used Tony Soprano and Don Draper as inspiration for Dre.
AMC / Via giphy.com
"We were really interested in creating an antihero story...through the lens of a Black, modern-day woman," Nabers, who was a writer and producer on Glover's series, Atlanta, said in an interview with Vanity Fair.
6.Dominique Fishback, who stars as Dre, the Black, modern-day woman in question, was handpicked by Glover and Nabers...
Fishback told Vanity Fair, "I heard from my team that Donald was creating a show and wanted me to be part of it. I was like, 'Oh, shoot! Donald Glover knows me. That’s pretty cool.'"
7....but they wanted her for a different role.
She revealed that they originally asked her to play Dre's sister, Marissa, but she lobbied to play the lead.
"I don’t want to be able to catch up to myself as an actor," the actor said. "[Dre] didn’t give a lot of direction about who she was, why she felt the way she did. I really had to go on instinct."
8.Chloe Bailey, who was ultimately cast as Marissa, and her sister, Halle, make up the musical group Chloe x Halle, which is signed to Beyoncé's label, Parkwood.
9.Despite being told she didn't have the "it" factor by a guidance counselor when she was in middle school, Fishback received a three-minute standing ovation when filming for the pilot wrapped.
"Every single person stopped what they were doing," Nabers revealed to Entertainment Weekly. "I’ve been doing TV for a long time and I’ve never seen that. That was the moment that Donald and I looked at each other and we were like, 'All right — we got something right.'"
10.Fishback had a connection to Beyoncé prior to Swarm.
She played Jay-Z's mom, Gloria, in his "Smile" music video in 2017.
11.Nirine S. Brown, who plays Ni'Jah, also had a previous connection to the singer.
Brown appeared as a dancer in Beyoncé's Netflix documentary, Homecoming.
12.Donald Glover's brother, Stephen Glover, who served as an executive producer and writer for Atlanta, did the same for Swarm.
He also directed Episode 6, and appeared as Ni'Jah's husband, Caché, in Episode 3.
13.Barack and Michelle Obama's daughter, Malia, is a writer on the show.
"She's a very professional person," Nabers told Entertainment Weekly. "She's an incredible writer and artist. We really wanted to give her the opportunity to get her feet wet in TV and see if this is something she wants to continue doing."
Dominique Fishback, Chloe Bailey, and Malia Obama on set of #Swarm
14.Dre's friend Hailey from the strip club is played by Paris Jackson.
"Paris was great," Nabers told Variety. "She’s a professional. She came in and asked all the right questions. I’m a Jewish woman, she identifies as Jewish, so we bonded about that. And she trusted us. She was like, 'I understand what this role is, and here’s how I’m gonna approach it.' She really just owned it this character of a light-passing biracial woman who is really intent on letting everyone know about her Blackness."
I lost my shit when Paris Jackson said that ☠️ #swarm
15.That's not actually Jesse Williams talking to Dre at Cache's afterparty.
Given that he introduces himself as Jesse, says he stars on Grey's Anatomy, and actually resembles Williams when we see his blurry self being walked away from by Dre, it's clear who this person is supposed to be. The actor is actually Darren Cain.
16.This is Billie Eilish's first acting credit.
She plays Eva, a cult leader who gets inside Dre's head.
I’m still here mentally and I don’t think I want to leave