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The Blog
Likewise PicksMar 15, 20235 min

Winner of the Week - Billie Eilish’s Acting Debut in Swarm

While the artists have yet to collaborate musically, Billie Eilish's performance in Donald Glover's 'Swarm' has fans singing their praise.

By John Farrar

Billie Eilish smiles in her blonde hair and flower print shirt as she talks with Dominique Fishback in 'Swarm.'

Prime Video's 'Swarm' showcases the talents of all cast members; one of the most notable being from musician-turned-actor Billie Eilish.

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The Winner

Winner of the Week: Billie Eilish

Show: Swarm

Episode: Episode 4, “Running Scared” (3/17/2023)

Why Her?

Billie Eilish made her acting debut as Eva, an entrancing cult leader, in Episode 4 of Donald Glover and Janine Nabers’ new psychological thriller, Swarm. The series follows a young woman named Dre (Dominique Fishback), a die-hard superfan of the fictional Beyoncé-esque music icon, Ni’Jah. Dominique Fishback’s unhinged performance in the series is worthy of praise and pairs nicely with the twisted debut screenplay by Malia Obama—yes, that Obama. But once Eva was introduced, I couldn’t take my eyes off her, making her the Winner of the Week.

In episode four, Dre is on the run and is heading to Ni’Jah’s next concert in Manchester, Tennessee. She meets a nice woman at a gas station who invites Dre to spend the night at a house where her friends are staying. Having nowhere else to go, Dre accepts and soon encounters Eva. I was completely enthralled by Eilish’s eerie performance as a soft-spoken, friendly, hippie gardener-type. If you’ve ever met somebody like Eva—a stranger who’s overwhelming generosity and openness feels too nice—you know there’s probably reason to be cautious.

From the first interaction between Dre and Eva, you get the sense that something is off about her, but you can’t put your finger on exactly what. Dre learns that Eva is the Executive Director of DecaWin, a women's empowerment group that specializes in “unlocking the female potential. Teaching, learning, training. And most of all, healing.” In other words, she’s a cult leader. In fact, DecaWin was inspired by the infamous NXIVM cult. Eva is the epitome of the wealthy, connected, and creepy spiritual folks that come to mind when you think of various Hollywood-adjacent organizations that prey on people’s insecurities.

It’s hard to believe Dominique Fishback is 31 years old and Eilish is only 21 because their roles in the show are essentially flipped. Dre is emotionally immature—and deranged—while Eva is a cunning, charismatic thirtysomething. When Billie’s character first appeared on screen, it took me a few minutes to realize it was her! Her cadence was calm and welcoming, and her subtle facial expressions were unsettling. Yes, I was fully convinced I was watching a real-life cult leader in action—and she already knows a thing or two about rabid fans and followers.

So far, Eilish feels natural in front of the camera. Fishback told Rolling Stone that Eilish was “respectful of the craft. She came in with ideas, wanting to talk about it, being game to rehearse.” Although her appearance in the show was short-lived, Eilish was given an opportunity to put her acting chops on display, and she absolutely crushed it (pun intended).

Interested in watching Swarm? Add it to your watchlist here!

Likewiser Reviews of Swarm:

Brilliant! Eerie, thought-provoking… Definitely makes you look at the influence of your favorite artists’ fan bases a LOT differently… 10/10 recommend! - @jasmin_black

Lunatic behavior and I’m only on Episode 2. Definitely give it a try! - @julia_999

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