Interviews TV

Snowfall’s Damson Idris Reflects on Franklin’s Complicated Journey and Uncertain Future

Every beginning has an end and as the end of Snowfall season 5 approaches, Franklin’s time could be running out. For years, fans have watched Franklin and his family go through the ups and downs of life. As they tackle everyday situations, they also navigate the complicated life of crime as their love for each other grows through the layers of family, friendship and something more.

Despite the chase of money, power and respect, the test of everyone’s bond has been costly, regretful and rewarding. But how long can this last when time is running out on not just the characters but the show?

Since 2017, FX’s Snowfall has joined a list of critically acclaimed shows that accurately and honestly portrays America’s war on drugs, the lives affected by both addiction and the deceptive web of making fast money which forever changed the African American landscape and criminal justice system in America.

Co-created by the late director John Singleton, Snowfall never shied away from delivering unshakeable gruesomeness and sociological commentary on the drug game and the price of addiction. As a result, Snowfall has become one of the most watched shows on FX and made Damson Idris a star as fans fell in love with him and the show’s rich storytelling and dynamic cast.

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Speaking on this season’s final two episodes and the upcoming final season, Damson reflects on Franklin’s journey, the duality of being a drug dealer with a purpose despite its downfalls and more.

Season five showcases the evolution of Franklin from the first episode to the duality of Franklin justifying his lifestyle with the belief and motto of him helping the community while he also wrestles with the comforts of power and money. 

“I have this thing where I write down every character in Franklin’s life that he’s destroyed. All the names just kept coming to me. It was actually a kind of out-of-body experience [and it] was really weird. The whole ‘bodies, bodies’ [scene was] not scripted. All the names [ were not scripted, so] it was really strange [because] people were looking at me like ‘are you okay’ but I’m also a huge Kendrick Lamar fan, so at that moment, for some reason, it just came to me. It was weird, but the duality of Franklin is an interesting one and I think it’s something I’ve spoken about in the drug world a lot.”

Season five begins with the overdose of Len Bias and the ripple effects it sent across Franklin’s family, placing them in the crosshairs of the Los Angeles Police Department special drug task force. While at the same time, the family is imploding and attempting not to turn on each other.

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Franklin is torn in two different directions: does he focus on his real estate business or continue with the drug game. As a viewer, it’s easy to remember Franklin as an innocent child, but standing before viewers is a man, a leader, and it may be too late for Franklin to turn back.

“You have to watch the show. I feel like the only survivor is going to be Wanda, she’s the Forest Gump of this series. She always pops up. What I can say is you’re going to be the edge of your seats. This season we went in so many different interesting directions. It’s really not difficult but it becomes more fun as an artist to raise the bar and excel especially when you’re doing a show for so long.”

“There’s always room for redemption, hopefully, but he’s definitely coming to terms with who he truly is and he’s starting to see he is actually a monster [and] it’s really interesting. I hope we’re able to empathize with some of the people that have been affected by Franklin and understand he too is a victim of the times, he’s a victim of being in that circumstance and having no choice.”

“Not having a present father, that was something important missing in his life. Being from Peckham, London, the way I always related to Franklin being a kid is just the same kind of themes aside from racism and police brutality. A lot of these kids grow up without our fathers [and] I could relate to that deeply, so it was so beautiful to bring Kevin Carroll’s character Alton into the show and to see how much of an impact he actually did have on Franklin’s life.”

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While Snowfall is Singleton’s baby, the Academy Award-winning director passed away weeks before the premiere of Season 3. However, his impact on the show was felt long after his death. Now, Singleton’s last TV project is nearing its conclusion with the sixth and final season, Damson reflects on his journey as an actor and the fond times he had playing the character.  

“I was 23 years old when I got this part and in 2015, and I probably auditioned about eight times, but, on the final audition, he made me walk around South Central, Los Angeles in character. I wasn’t allowed to be British, and he opened the car door and was like, ‘if you survive you got the road, you survived.’ Singleton through this show is still with me, so it’s also saying goodbye to him for the last time too, which is really deep and difficult for me.”

“This show is going to be the foundation of my career. I’m 30 years old now and an uncle to 16 nieces and nephews, so I’m getting up there, but seven years is such a beautiful journey and the relationships I’ve made on this show are going to last a lifetime. That’s really special, it’s something that means a lot to me.”

To learn more about this season of Snowfall, check out the full interview in the video above.

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