Donald Glover: ‘Swarm’ was inspired by ‘The Piano Teacher’

“Who is the young version of this? Who is willing to do this?” Glover said before Dominique Fishback’s performance.

Of course, Donald Glover jumped into “Swarm,” but he also checked out “King of Comedy” and “The Piano Teacher” for the indie Prime Video series.

“Brother, we steal everything.” We take what works. I’ll leave it at that, Glover said Vulture.

“Swarm” revolves around superfan Dre (Dominique Fishback) and his bloodthirsty obsession and subsequent commitment to a pop star.

Surprisingly, it was Isabelle Huppert’s haunting performance in Michael Haneke’s 2001 drama The Piano Teacher that inspired Glover to portray Dre. Huppert plays a piano teacher who engages in self-mutilation and a voyeuristic sado-masochistic relationship with his student, played by Benoît Magimel.

Isabelle Huppert in “The Piano Teacher” was the most interesting character study I’ve seen in a minute. Me and my brother said, “Well, who is it now? Who is the young version of this? Who is willing to do that?” Glover asked.

Glover continued of Fishback: “I said, ‘This is what you’re getting into. How does this make you feel? If you’re thinking, “Oh, I don’t want to do it that way,” or “It felt like too much,” it probably won’t work. We didn’t want to scare him, but we never wanted to lie about what it was.”

As for Fishback, the “Atlanta” creator added, “He grew more and more into (the role). I kept telling him, “Think more like an animal and less like a human being.” It reminds me that I’m afraid of dogs because I say, “You don’t look me in the eye, I don’t know what you’re capable of.” And that’s what I wanted with him, and he really got it. He just started this thing with his eyes, where he wasn’t making eye contact with you, or looking around.”

Glover, who has a full production deal with Prime Video, shared, “There will be someone else who would be willing to do it. I don’t know if they could do a great job like Dominique. And to be honest, I’m so glad it was him. But there is always someone willing to take the risk. And I’m more interested in risk. Now it’s easy to do shit. Easier to produce. It’s easier to get analytics, to know what people are going to say, and to know how people are going to feel. And I’m not interested in putting the audience on a slow, methadone drip of content. I’m more interested in trying to give someone a break.”

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