Billie Eilish’s ‘Swarm’ role was inspired by a real-life cult leader

The real-life inspiration behind Billie Eilish‘s role in the Donald Glover-written and produced Amazon Prime Video series, Swarm, has been revealed.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Swarm’s co-writer and producer Janine Nabers revealed that the role – Eilish’s first – was inspired by the infamous Hollywood-adjacent cult NXIVM and its leader Keith Raniere.

In Swarm, Eilish stars as Eva, the young executive director of a female empowerment group that later is revealed to be a cult.


“There is a cult that existed in the world that was very prominent during that time,” Nabers told The Hollywood Reporter. “And that is the kind of true-crime element to that episode. And I think that when people think of the idea of artists or celebrities, there is this idea of thinking about the cult of Taylor Swift, or the cult of the Beatles or whatever. What we were really interested in was just seeing someone who worships at the altar of ‘something,’ and (exploring) this idea of what is the cult of the mind.”

The show’s protagonist is played by Dominique Fishback who added, saying Eilish was “respectful of the craft” and “came in with ideas, wanting to talk about it, being game to rehearse.”

Set between 2016 and 2018, Swarm follows Dre (Dominique Fishback), a fan of the fictional music icon Ni’Jah, whose love for her favorite singer crosses the line from obsessive to murderous.

Swarm is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.

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Riley Keough took inspiration from Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin to play Daisy Jones

Riley Keough has named Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin as some of her reference points for her characterisation of the title character in Amazon Prime Video’s Daisy Jones And The Six

Keough explained that she looked at men for inspiration for Daisy Jones as she felt like the show’s protagonist was “ahead of her time” for a frontwoman in a band in the 1970s.

“I was like, ‘I’m not going to exclusively look at women; I want to look at Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix’. I pulled influence from men because I felt like Daisy was ahead of her time, in terms of how open and how willing she was to go into a space and be confident. I think that was really hard for women to do,” she told Porter.


“I watched so many videos of [singers] in that era to get a sense of their movements. There wasn’t the freedom there is now for women, and that is evident in how they behaved on stage. It was much more restricted in the 1970s, so I struggled with that because my body movements are so inherently of my generation.”

Daisy Jones
CREDIT: Prime Video

Keough also discussed the manner in which she wanted to portray Daisy’s substance abuse. “Because this is something I’ve experienced in my family,” she explained, “I wanted the moments in which you see Daisy’s addiction to not feel glamorous; to make sure that those moments had weight to them; that we’re seeing the humanity behind the closed doors of what people are perceiving to be glamour.”

The actress also revealed that the adaptation of Taylor Jenkins-Reid’s bestselling book was meant to be filmed in 2020, but was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We ended up having a year to rehearse and learn our instruments, and we became a pretty legit band [over Zoom],” recalled Keough. “I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe we’re playing live and we know what we’re doing’. We didn’t have to fake the confidence in ourselves – it was authentic. In hindsight, a month or two of rehearsal [as originally planned] would have done nothing for us. It would have been a lot of pretending.”

Some fans of the show noticed an Easter egg in the second episode of the show referencing Keough’s grandfather, Elvis Presley.

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Listen to Donald Glover’s new EP created for TV show ‘Swarm’

Donald Glover has shared a new EP created in conjunction with his new horror TV series Swarm.

The new Amazon Prime Video series was created by Glover alongside Janine Nabers, and features Billie Eilish in her acting debut.

The series follows a young woman named Dre whose obsession with one of the world’s biggest pop stars as well as an unexpected trauma involving her sister, Marissa (Chloe Bailey), sets her on a dark journey across the country.


As Dre continues on her increasingly violent path, she encounters characters played by Damson Idris (Marissa’s boyfriend, Khalid) as well as Byron Bowers, Kiersey Clemons, Paris Jackson, internet personality Rickey Thompson, Rory Culkin and American Auto breakout X Mayo.

New music from Glover was shared in the show’s trailer, and now a full six-track EP has been released in conjunction with the show landing on Amazon.

The songs see Glover collaborate with the show’s fictional star Ni’jah (Nirine S. Brown) and features contributions from Fam Udeorji, Teo Halm, Jeff Kleinman and others.

Listen to the ‘Swarm’ EP below.

Back in January, Glover spoke about whether or not his musical alter ego Childish Gambino was retired during an interview at the Golden Globes 2023.


“I’m making music right now,” he told Laverne Cox. “I love it. I’m in the studio, I’ve been bringing people in, secret people, and working on things.”

At the Golden Globes, Glover said he was “just making [music] for fun right now. But soon, something will happen I promise. Something will happen.”

Glover’s last full musical release as Childish Gambino arrived in 2020 with the album ‘3.15.20’. In a four-star review, NME wrote: “The impressive ‘3.15.20’ is well worth the wait — we’ll keep our fingers firmly crossed, then, that he doesn’t give in to his past evasiveness and take the record down again.”

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