Dominique Fishback’s role as Andrea “Dre” Greene in Swarm is about to cement her as one of the most promising actors in the business.
While she was first offered the role of Dre’s sister Marissa, which ended up going to Chloë Bailey, Fishback asked the show’s creators Donald Glover and Janine Nabers for the lead instead. And she got it.
Dre is a young woman who is obsessed with a fictional pop star named Ni’Jah, and it’s a love Dre has shared with her sister since they were kids. The singer was a connective tissue for them both, but as they got older, Marissa moved away from running fan pages on Twitter and obsessing about Ni’Jah’s every move. Dre didn’t. Aside from the Swarm—Ni’Jah’s fandom—that she connects with online, Dre is a loner whose only real friend is her sister. Marissa is the one person Dre feels accepted and loved by, and the two share a beautiful sisterhood that also has toxic and codependent tendencies.
Eventually, the level of deep-rooted attachment she feels to Ni’Jah and her sister becomes exacerbated, and it leads Dre down a dark and twisted path, converting her from die-hard stan to a killer bee. She takes the hate Marissa and Ni’Jah receive online as a motive to get revenge, and she goes on a rampage of anger, violence, and murder in order to get her way and fulfill her dream of meeting Ni’Jah.
The show is extremely graphic at times, not only for the viewer but also for the people in front of the camera and behind the scenes. (Bailey previously told Complex that she and Fishback cried for 40 minutes together after filming an emotionally charged scene.) The show covers heavy topics like self-harm and murder, so Fishback made sure people had access to proper care while filming.
“I asked them that they have therapists on set for people to be able to talk to, because although it’s acting, it could be triggering,” Fishback tells Complex. “We don’t know what people are going through in their lives. So I wanted to be conscious and aware of that to make sure people could go home in one piece and feel at peace as much as possible.”
Nothing can prepare you for the world the writers and creators built within this new psychological thriller. In its seven episodes, Swarm follows Dre throughout the course of two years as she evolves into a terrifying, skilled, and ruthless serial killer. Fishback delivers a groundbreaking and chilling performance, and the role shows the depth of her talent as an actor.
Complex caught up with the show’s star ahead of the release, and she shared all about working with Glover on building Dre, the famous friend she had on set to keep her grounded, and what she thinks of social media fandoms and the bullying they can sometimes encourage. Check out our conversation, edited for length and clarity, below.
All seven episodes of Swarm are now available to stream on Prime Video.