Snowfall’s Damson Idris on auditioning for his lead role

Snowfall lead actor Damson Idris shares how he landed his role.

13 September 2018

In the John Singleton American crime drama Snowfall, Damson Idris plays Franklin, a black teenager who after a cocaine epidemic breaks out in Los Angeles, he turns to selling drugs and gets in way over his head.

Talking to Emmy Magazine about his audition for the lead role, the South-East London native says that Singleton ordered him not speak in his English accent for a whole day while they walked around South Los Angeles.

Everything was going well for Idris; they spoke about music and took a picture on the blue bike that Tyrese Gibson rode on in Singleton’s movie Baby Boy. Singleton made it seem as if he’d already scored the part, Idris told the magazine.

Then his mum came and figured out in a matter of seconds that Idris is not American.

Fortunately, Singleton still cast Idris for the role. He needed to study rappers to learn an American dialect for the role.

Speaking about the similarities between his upbringing and inner-city LA, Idris says he can relate to Franklin’s relationship with his parents. Idris is the youngest of 6 children and was raised by a single mother. A lot of people in Peckham where Idris grew up, didn’t have present fathers because they were either locked up or were just not around, he says.

Franklin is the perfect character to play, Idris says. People have been calling him the sweetest drug dealer on TV. He’s got a huge conscience and he’s a sweet kid who has no idea what he’s really doing.

People can relate to his innocence no matter their age. All Franklin wants in life is to be stable and take care of his family. To accomplish this, he feels he can’t be in a regular nine-to-five because he’ll never excel.

He’s a street entrepreneur, Idris says in closing.

You can catch Snowfall Season 2 on Thursdays at 21:30, or catch up on DStv NOW.