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Was Rory Culkin’s Nude Scene In ‘Swarm’ Real? How Donald Glover’s True ‘Hook Up’ Story Inspired The Episode

A bowl of fruit?
Swarm Nude
Image: Getty Images

Is it relatable? Many people who watched Amazon Prime’s Swarm might have the same question: Was Rory Culkin’s Swarm nude scene real?

Swarm is a new Amazon Prime series created by Janine Nabers and Donald Glover. The series is set between 2016-2018, follows Dre (Dominique Fishback), an obsessed fan of the world’s biggest pop star Ni’Jah who sets off on an unexpected cross-country journey. The show also star Chloë Bailey as Dre’s sister, Marissa and Damson Idris as Marissa’s boyfriend, Khalid. Additional guest stars include, Rickey Thompson, Paris Jackson, Rory Culkin, Kiersey Clemons, and Byron Bowers.

So without any big spoilers (!!) Was Rory Culkin’s nude scene real? Read more to find out.

Was Rory Culkin’s nude scene real?

Courtesy of: Amazon Prime Video

Was Rory Culkin’s nude scene real? It’s not confirmed that he used his actual penis or prosthetic in the scene, but the story behind the nude scene is totally real.

In the episode “Stung,” Rory Culkin’s character meets Dre at a club and has a one-night stand with her. The morning after, the man offers Dre a bowl of strawberries while he’s naked—a bowl that was awfully close to his penis.

In an interview with Insider at SXSW, Janine Nabers recalled the story that Glover told her that truly inspired the shocking part of the episode.  “Donald told this very funny story about a girl who he really liked, and how after they hooked, he was standing there with a bowl of cherries, just being like, ‘Hey,’” Nabers told the outlet. “She was like, so not into it, because it’s so weird to hook up with a guy that you barely know and then wake up with him holding a bowl of cherries.”

At the event, head of Amazon Studios Jennifer Salke and head of MGM Studios Vernon Sanders introduced the series at SXSW. “We’re really in the hive here,” Salke began, going on to praise the show as an “incredible, original vision.” Added Sanders: “When we heard the pitch from Donald and Janine, we were blown away. It was wildly original, it was unlike anything else.”

The titular “swarm” is said to take inspiration from the “Beyhive”, the name of Beyoncé’s fans. The pop star in question is the source of inspiration behind the pop star that Dre loves. The series was actually inspired by a fan who was rumored to have committed suicide in April 2016 due to the allegation that Jay-Z was cheating on Beyoncé.

Swarm Amazon
Courtesy of: Amazon Prime Studios

“I was on a text thread with some of my Houstonian friends, and for two days we thought this was a real event — until it was dispelled later on Black Twitter,” Nabers said at SXSW. “So when Donald [Glover] pitched this idea about a Black woman who’s obsessed with a pop star, I said ‘I know what the pilot is’ and ran with it.” When asked if “a certain pop star” watched the series, the co-creator replied, “Of course.”

“Every episode deals with real news stories, real events, or Internet rumors that have happened, and we have put our wonderful women in the center of those stories,” Nabers said during the premiere. She added that Glover referenced a tweet in the pitch that asked, “Why does every Black woman on TV have to be a therapist or a funny best friend or someone looking for love or a teacher? We can be crazy. We can be serial killers, too. And the rest is ‘Swarm.’”

On the inspiration when writing each episode, Nabers told Insider, “I’m a Black woman, so any ankle into this story was always gonna be rooted in that. There’s a lot of different things that we set out to look at in terms of just, like, online stan culture and stuff, but that is very much a backdrop to what this story is. This story at the end of the day is really about Dre and her relationship with her sister, and how this pilot becomes the origin story of a villain.”

The series itself holds a lot of twists and turns and even surprising celebrity guest roles. Billie Eilish makes her first television starring role as Eva and Paris Jackson also stars as Hailey, a stripper.  Chloë Bailey stars as Dre’s sister Marissa with Damson Idris starring as Marissa’s boyfriend. Bailey told Variety what attracted her to the series. “It’s really not about the fandom. It’s about a girl who is trying so hard to cling on to her sister so desperately that she is grasping at the one thing they connected on since they were little girls.” She continued, “I saw myself in her,” Bailey said of playing Marissa to Variety. “I love to smile and love sunshine and roses and I giggle a lot. And as I’ve been maturing and growing now into mid 20s — which is crazy, I’m going to be 25 in a few months — I’ve become honest with myself, and I noticed that my coping mechanism a lot of times is I’ll laugh to keep from crying. Because I never want people to think I’m weak by seeing what I’m going through.”

The series also serves as Malia Obama’s first writing credits on a TV series on the episode “Girl Bye”. Nabers gushed about her writing style to Entertainment Tonight. “Some of her pitches were wild as hell, and they were just so good and so funny,” Nabers said of Obama. “She’s an incredible writer. She brought a lot to the table. She’s really, really dedicated to her craft.”

On her own character, Fishback reflected on the series to Variety, “I realized that a lot of actors hope for this in the span of their career,” Fishback said. “I got to do a lot of things in just one series, because Dre get to be so many different things, episode by episode, so I was really grateful.” And, hopefully, the role will help subvert expectations for other young Black actors. “For us as Black creatives and Black women, sometimes we end up seeming like we represent all of us. And that’s not the case.”

She also examined society’s relationship to social media in terms of fandom. “It’s a beautiful thing, because we get access to people that we never had access to before, but we also get access to people that we never had before,” she said. “Sometimes we can be so mean to one another, and we forget that is actually a human being on the other side.”

Swarm is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. Here’s how to watch it for free. 

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