With FX’s brilliantly strange Atlanta having just aired its final season, work is well underway on Donald Glover’s newest venture, the upcoming series Swarm. Described as “a sister to Atlanta,” Swarm will center on a young Black woman and her dark, parasocial obsessions.
— Prime Video (@PrimeVideo) January 30, 2023
According to a first look from Vanity Fair, the series follows Dre, a woman obsessed with a Beyoncé-like pop star. “The show is a dive into Dre’s life, her fandom, and how it takes her to dark, unexpected places.” This is reiterated by one of the most jarring preview stills: an image of Dre mopping up a pool of blood beside a hammer.
Dominique Fishback (Judas and the Black Messiah) stars as Dre, with singer Chloë Bailey playing her sister and Damson Idris (Snowfall) portraying her boyfriend. The series is co-created by Glover and Janine Nabers.
In describing how the series came together, Glover explained that he hoped to channel directors Martin Scorsese and Michael Haneke. “We just thought it’d be fun to make a post-truth Piano Teacher mixed with The King of Comedy,” he said.
Glover and Nabers were also looking to reinvent the gritty protagonist made popular by groundbreaking shows like The Sopranos and Breaking Bad. “We were really interested in creating an antihero story,” Nabers explained. Specifically, they wanted to filter that archetype “through the lens of a Black, modern-day woman.”
While production largely consists of the same team that worked on Atlanta, the crew brought on Malia Obama in order to imbue the script with a Gen Z perspective. “Dre and Marissa are in their 20s and Malia is in her 20s, so it was really great having someone like her in the room,” Nabers said. “She’s a very professional person. 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.”
All in all, the series is expected to continue some of the idiosyncratic themes introduced in Atlanta while breaking into something entirely new, with the help of a brand new cast of characters. “They did a really great job,” Glover said. “Dom, Damson, Chloe. I was really blown away at how hard they worked on the tone, ’cause it’s a strange one.”
A release date for Swarm has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to premiere later this year on Amazon Prime Video.
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