According to Vanity Fair, Swarm tells the story of a young woman named Dre — played by Dominique Fishback (Judas and the Black Messiah) — who’s obsessed with a fictional pop star, with the show following her fandom and how it takes her to “dark, unexpected places.”
“We just thought it’d be fun to make a post-truth Piano Teacher mixed with The King of Comedy,” Glover said, referencing the 2001 erotic psychological drama and 1982 Martin Scorsese film. “Me and my brother Stephen were talking about finding someone like Isabelle Huppert, as far as risk-takers in performances.”
The series also stars singer Chloe Bailey as Dre’s sister Marissa, and Snowfall star Damson Idris as her boyfriend.
“A lot of people did it out of the kindness of their hearts and they did a really great job,” Glover added. “Dom, Damson, Chloe. I was really blown away at how hard they worked on the tone, ’cause it’s a strange one.”
Vanity Fair shared exclusive photos of Swarm before a full trailer is released.
Swarm co-creator Janine Nabers said the show feels like “a sister to Atlanta” and lives in “the same tonal space” as the Emmy-winning FX series, helped by the fact that the show was mostly put together by the same people.
“I heard from my team that Donald was creating a show and wanted me to be part of it,” Fishback said. “I was like, ‘Oh, shoot! Donald Glover knows me. That’s pretty cool.’ I don’t want to be able to catch up to myself as an actor. [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.”
Barack and Michelle Obama’s daughter, Malia, was also part of the writing team for Swarm. Speaking at the Atlanta season three premiere in Los Angeles last March, Donald Glover was full of praise for the former president’s daughter.
“She’s just like, an amazingly talented person,” he said. “She’s really focused, and she’s working really hard. I feel like she’s just somebody who’s gonna have really good things coming soon. Her writing style is great.”
Elaborating on the writing process behind Swarm, Glover said: “We just laugh and joke with each other for like hours, and then we just focus on something that we really like. The writers’ room is probably my top two favorite parts of the process. We just get to hang out all day, and talk about what makes us laugh.
“We just talk about how we are feeling and what’s going on in our own lives, and so our work and all the shows we do becomes very personal in that way. And at the same time, it’s very fun. We are talking about everything and being honest about things, and getting all kinds of ideas out.”