Billie Eilish she made her acting debut in the series Swarmproduced by Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, with star Dominique Fishback.
The episodes tell the story of Dre, a young girl who idolizes Ni’Jah, a pop star with a loyal fan base who goes by the name Swarm and attacks every critic online by flooding them with bee emojis.
The series is inspired by Beyoncé and her Beyhive.
When Dre’s foster sister Marissa (Chloe Bailey) falls victim to her boyfriend (Damson Idris), Dre spirals out of control and starts killing. Stars appearing in the episodes also include Rory Culkin, Byron Bowers, Kiersey Clemons and Paris Jackson.
Guest stars include Billie Eilish as Eva, a mysterious girl.
The credit goes to Carmen Cuba, casting director of the series. We were looking for performers for the episode and he suggested Billie, and I said ‘Do you play?’ And she said ‘Yes’. I replied: ‘What did you act in?’. The answer was: ‘Nothing’. But what’s so amazing about this process is that there are a lot of people who work on the show and they have more than one talent and they’re people who have so many different passions. We move towards people who deal with different projects.
Billie, who shared a video from the series, appears in the fourth episode. Dre, in April 2018, comes across a totally female group and, during a walk, some of them explain that they are convinced that Eva possesses healing powers, able to cure all problems, even alcoholism or stuttering.
The co-creator explained that the source of inspiration was the NXIVM sect created by Keith Raniere:
When you take into consideration the history of the show and the fact that there’s a true-crime element to every episode, that element in episode four is NXIVM. They existed in New York – in Albany – and that was the period of our streets where the women were aiming. It’s about the cult mentality idea of someone who could be your savior, and you see that reflected in the music. That element was always part of what that installment was supposed to be. We dropped Keith Raniere because we really wanted to focus on the women.
Eva is then shown accompanying Dre to a private room and submitting her to a “trial” which, however, does not have the desired effects, considering that Dre loses control and runs over her twice with his car. Fishback said:
That scene was done by the stunt doubles! I don’t even have a licence! But that Eva character brought it on. Dre was trying to leave. He wanted his phone. She entered her mind without her permission, she got information about her sister that she didn’t want to give freely, and then what? It’s over for you, she really is.
The actress spoke about the collaboration with Billie Eilish underlining that the singer has great respect for the work of actors:
And she came with ideas, she wanted to talk about them, she was willing to experiment. I think she is wonderful. I’m a huge fan of her as a person after my experience with her on set.
Their feeling was really wonderful. This show, in regards to women and violence, has given me so much strength because you routinely see them from a male perspective in the history of film and TV. Turning all that upside down with the show, and with Billie, was great.
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