Snowfall is now in the midst of its fourth season and the hit crime drama from the late John Singleton has managed to eclipse an already amazing story arc. Earlier in the week, Hip-Hop Wired had the pleasure of joining a video call with members of the cast and writing team and the importance of telling authentic Black stories.
The Zoom was held on Tuesday, March 2, and was attended by leading stars Damson Idris, who stars as drug lord Franklin Saint, Carter Hudson, who plays the intense Teddy McDonald, Angela Lewis as the hard-loving Louie, Isiah John, who plays Franklin’s friend Leon, Michael Hyatt, who stars as Franklin’s mom Cissy, Amin Joseph as Uncle Jerome, Kevin Carroll as Franklin’s dad Alton, and executive producers and writers Walter Mosley. and Dave Andron.
Expertly moderated by Lola Ogunnaike, the panel discussion began with Hudson, who plays the troubled CIA agent working an off-the-books operation in South America while also playing marionette to the happenings of Franklin Saint’s booming business.
Hudson explained that the character goes into some dark realms as the world unravels around him. Hudson remarked during the chat that having a gig last as long as it has is different for those who got their start in theater productions as he has, but said he approaches each season as a lesson of reimagining what was done before without retreads.
Hudson’s observation of the length of the series and the depths they go to sparked us to inquire from the entire panel how living for so long as these characters figure heavily in their days away from the set. Over the course of the chat, several of the cast members, most especially Hyatt and Lewis, realize the weight of the story they’re telling, and the guidance of Mosley, a veteran television writer, and Andron has kept Singleton’s vision of an authentic Black story set in his beloved Los Angeles well attended to.
Carroll also shared something worth noting in his portrayal of Alton, a once estranged member of the family who returns to the fold and tries leading with love despite the actions of his onscreen son. Carroll said on several occasions that playing a father in a series that tackles an actual slice of historic socioeconomic upheaval for Black Americans was important to him and playing across from Hyatt in a parental role is something he spoke of with pride.
Harkening back to Hudson’s earlier point of the length of time on set, we asked the panel to explain what it’s like living in these fictional characters set against a backdrop where things of the sort seen on the show have actually occurred in some form or fashion. Further, we wanted to know if it’s possible to live as these complex, varied characters but step away from it comfortably as artists.
“It’s difficult to say because I’m still in it so maybe in 20 years, I can answer this question better,” Idris answered, remarking on how it’d be hard to split himself from Franklin Saint at the moment.
“He stays with me. We usually take four months, five months to shoot a season. This year, it took us 15 years to do this season,” Idris said with a laugh. “I think about him every day because he’s around me all the time. When I walk down the street, someone calls me Franklin. It’s really difficult to let that go, and now that we’re at season four and however long we go, it’ll always be difficult to think of that time when I finally have to say goodbye,” Idris added.
“Aside from what everyone said on this panel today, the truth is that this show is invested in its authenticity and its commitment to telling real life, something I relate to deeply, and it’s something viewers relate to. But when you see your family, and through travel, and you have stories you learn to love, maybe you’re able to shed some of this character away from you,” Idris concluded.
Snowfall airs weekly on the FX network on Wednesdays at 10:00 pm EST. Learn more about Snowfall here.