Janine Nabers created a psychological thriller Swarm that features a variety of celebrity guest appearances, including Rory Culkin and Paris Jackson, but Grammy Award winner Billie Eilish has one of the liveliest performances on the show.
Set between 2016 and 2018, Swarm follows Dre (Dominique Fishback), a fan of Beyoncé’s fictional musical icon Ni’Jah, whose love for his favorite singer crosses the line between obsessive and homicidal. After traveling across the country, he meets a variety of characters and commits a variety of crimes.
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A racist cop tries to tail her and as she tries to shake him off at a gas station, a young white woman comes to her aid and Dre follows her into a room full of seemingly friendlier women. It’s a group, led by Eva (played by Billie Eilish), whose warm and welcoming demeanor hides something sinister underneath. Eilish, who is making her acting debut, was suggested by Swarm’s casting director Carmen Cuba.
Swarm – Trailer
“When he suggested [Billie Eilish] for the role of Eva, we were like, ‘Oh, she’s really great! Here we go!’ And it worked,” Nabers said. “She was great!” Said the casting director (Hollywood Reporter)
While Eva says she’s “so attracted” to Dre and suggests she’s “part of the tribe” now, as Dre spends more time with her, it becomes clear that Eva’s organization is less of a commune and more of a cult. The women wear the same colors and share the same body markings. Eva, the CEO of the female empowerment group, hosts training and healing sessions with Dre, who takes a walk. One of the most eminent Hollywood cults was the NXIVM cult, which involved actresses like Alison Mack, who is currently serving a three-year sentence. Nabers has said that Eilish’s character was inspired by that cult and its leader, Keith Raniere, who was sentenced to 120 years in prison and fined $1,750,000 in the high-profile sex trafficking case. (Hollywood Reporter)
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The result is Eilish’s Eva getting run over multiple times by Dre, along with several of his cult members. Fishback told Rolling Stone that the singer was “respectful of the craft” and “brought up ideas, she wanted to talk about it, she was up for rehearsal,” adding that “Eva’s character essentially requires it.”