How The ‘Swarm’ Built Billie Eilish Into A Terrifying Spa In Episode 4

Production Designer Sara K White and Cinematographer Drew Daniels discuss how the world of Episode 4 is the most dangerous for Dre.

Strange things can happen at Bonnaroo, but stumbling upon a wellness group/cult situation led by Billie Eilish is pretty extraordinary. Written by Ibra Ake, Stephen Glover and Janine Nebers and directed by Ake, Episode 4 of “Swarm” puts Dre (Dominique Fishback) in Eilish’s path, while also creating one of the most stable-looking and dangerous-feeling locations where the killer. fan has yet to meet her — which is saying something for a character who bit the show’s Beyoncé status an episode earlier.

The show goes out of its way to make Eva (Eilish), the head of an NXIVM-like women’s empowerment collective, feel as empowered as she is. This included the custom construction of the sweat lodge, where Eva ushers Dre in to relive repressed moments of trauma from his past—and reveal compromising details about himself. “It was actually the most creative set-up we’ve had on this show,” production designer Sara K White said of Eilish’s lair.

“The scene was originally written to take place in a different location, which we ended up not being able to find,” White said. “So in order to come up with a space where these women could be together in this heightened environment, I worked a lot with our director and the writers to come up with the idea of ​​the sweat lodge, and it was an amazing process.”

Dominique Fishback and Billie Eilish in the sweat lodge chamber in episode 4 "Swarm"


Courtesy of Prime Video

White needed to build a structure that would visually complement the home used for Eva’s composition, but do much more than just pump, reject and vibrate heat. “We built it so that if someone hung the light on top of any weight, it would actually hold. Then when choosing the material, the question was, “How do we allow the transparency of the material to affect the way the light hits these women?”

The way the light reaches these women is more than a little vampire. But still Eva. “We are in the wellness world of upper class white women. So all the colors are washed out (washed out) except for these wonderful shades of red in some of their wardrobe palettes,” White said. The purpose of the sweat lodge was to capture a pale cult feel even in a typically dim building. So White designed the structure to let in as much natural light as possible, which makes Dre quite vulnerable after long nights in clubs and many dark nights.

Cinematographer Drew Daniels had a lot of fun perfecting the lodge and the rest of DecaWin to be just the right balance of isolating, glamorous, and sleazy. “It was the most amazing place. Everything was there. It was all so beige and it was just these big windows. They are green and beige and really solid. And then we just brought in red, and really, when we meet Billie, she’s so violent and lush,” Daniels told IndieWire.

Billie Eilish as Eva in Episode 4 "Swarm"


Courtesy of Prime Video

But no matter how much the background of each shot suggests that these women cannot be trusted, it was Eilish herself who stirred up the environment with her hidden sense of danger. “I was immediately impressed with his acting,” Daniels said. “And I think he gives one of the best performances in the series.

“He played a character; he didn’t play like a version of himself. Recording the whole group was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun going through that space and coming up with a plan and figuring it out and finding the best light and the best times of day.”

And every time the time of day bled a little red into the light, like at the campfire where Dre realizes he missed a Ni’jah show because of these women? Even better.

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