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Exclusive: Dominique Fishback On How She Prepared For 'Swarm' & Why She Took A Six-Month Break After Filming
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Exclusive: Dominique Fishback On How She Prepared For 'Swarm' & Why She Took A Six-Month Break After Filming

You know that annoying buzzing sound that you get in your ear when a bee is whizzing by your ears? Imagine that noise gradually becoming louder and louder as your psyche tries to fight the inevitable as an indication that you’re possibly about to have a psychotic break.

Welcome to Swarm.


Created by the minds of Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, who was also the writer on Glover’s FX Atlanta show, Swarmfollows Dre (Dominique Fishback) as she fights for the love and adoration of a fictional pop superstar, for whom she is willing to travel across the country, spend her last, and take on new personas. Some may even say that the cult-like behavior demonstrated in the show is similar to that of the Beyhive- but you didn’t hear it from us.

In addition to Fishback starring in Glover and Nabers’ new Prime Video series - on top of gearing up to star in the new Transformers: Rise of the Beast film alongside Anthony Ramos - she had the opportunity to step behind the scenes as a producer. In contrast to her previous on-set experiences where directors didn’t allow their actors to have access to the production side, Fishback was given the opportunity to see playbacks and watch what she referred to as “dailies,” which in the world of acting refers to the measurement used to see how filming and the actors’ performances are moving along.

“Originally, I didn't really want to watch dailies. Around the episode three or four, I was like, Let me watch the dailies, because I was trying it in so many different ways, and I wasn't quite sure how she was portrayed,” Fishback told xoNecole about how she was working on set as her character Dre, who played opposite of Chloe Bailey and Damson Idris. “I wanted to make sure that even though she might be a little off, there's still throughlines with the things that she does. Even if we don't understand it as an audience, I need for her to understand why she does the things she does and is able to track.”

Warrick Page/Prime Video

While portraying Dre, who (without giving too much of Swarm away) is the definition of toxic pop culture stan culture, Fishback made it a priority to put her mental health first, especially while playing a character that endures so much trauma, anxiety triggers, and wavering manic depression spells. “One thing I asked for sure was that we had a therapist on set, especially for the days in which we had to do kill scenes," Fishback said. “And not just for me but other actors and for crew members because you never know how people are triggered in our lives, even though this is particularly acting.”

Sometimes, Fishback would even receive visits from her friend of over 10 years and High School Musical alumna star Monique Coleman on set, which would help her find comfort in familiar faces while she was filming uncomfortable scenes.

“I took a lot of baths. I love baths,” she revealed to xoNecole about her self-care routines outside of filming. “Did a lot of meditation and praying and asking God for guidance and to watch over me and my steps - and that was how I did it.”

Overall, she found that the character of Dre would really challenge her range and versatility as an actress, which is what drew her to the project in the first place. “I told Donald that I wanted to do it because I didn't want to catch up to my own self as an actor, and in my life, I've been looking for freedom,” she said. “In 2020 when we all got quarantined, [we] realized that freedom was in the mind and that we had a lot of limited thoughts and societal ideas that might be dictated in the way we show up in life, and so I wanted to extend that to myself as an artist.”

Courtesy of Prime Video

"I told Donald that I wanted to do it because I didn't want to catch up to my own self as an actor, and in my life, I've been looking for freedom."

Long before she was offered the role in Swarm, Fishback turned to Charlize Theron in Monster and Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry for inspiration to pursue projects that dug deep into the human psyche. Little did she know that her research would soon come in handy for one of the most highly-anticipated releases on the Amazon Prime video platform. But there was one piece of homework that Glover assigned Fishback, Bailey, and the rest of the cast and crew that would ultimately put her on a seesaw decision-making journey as to whether or not she was really equipped for the role she’d been praying for.

“He wanted us to watch The Piano Teacher - it's a French film, and that is crazy,” Fishback prefaced. “But it really made me question myself as an artist because I was like, Am I that brave of an actor? I always thought I was a brave actor, but would I do that? I don't know if I would do that. What will I do? What won't I do? Sometimes you have to go further out to see where you land and see where you're comfortable, too, as well.”

Once all was said and done with the filming of Swarm, Fishback made one of the best decisions that she possibly could have made for herself after filming a horror-thriller-suspense hybrid limited series with some of the most creative minds in the industry.

“After Swarm, I did not look for acting for six months at least. I told everybody, I was like, I'm taking a break, and I really let myself do that, which is a gift,” Fishback revealed. “I think we could get scared, especially when things are essentially taking off or you don't want to miss opportunities, but what's for you won't pass you by. I really believe that, so if I believe that, I have to operate like that, and taking care of myself was first and foremost.”

Quantrell D. Colbert/Prime Video

“After Swarm, I did not look for acting for six months at least... I think we could get scared, especially when things are essentially taking off or you don't want to miss opportunities, but what's for you won't pass you by."

Straightaway following the wrap of the show, Fishback traveled to her “favorite place in the world,” which is Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. “I stayed in the jungle for a week. In the middle where me and my friend, we stayed, there was the living room area [that] was all open on each side, so you really had access to the jungle. Then it just had a roof over top, so whenever it rained, you could still kind of be outside. The butterflies were going by in your living room and birds are flying by, and it was cool to be with nature that way.”

Swarm is streaming on Prime Video.

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Featured image by Corey Nickols/Getty Images for IMDb

 

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