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How Damson Idris Really Got The Lead Role In ‘Snowfall’



Damson Idris’ journey to nab the role of Franklin Saint in Snowfall may be the wildest casting story we’ve ever heard.

We all know the 31-year-old for his work on the FX series … but what we didn’t know is how the British actor landed the part in the first place. You recall Samuel L. Jackson was very critical of casting black Brits in African American roles… but we digress.

In a new interview on The Drew Barrymore Show on Tuesday, Idris explained that he auditioned multiple times for the part only finally getting it after the late John Singleton took him to South Central Los Angeles and … dropped him off.

“By audition number eight, Singleton took me to South Central, opened the car door, and said, ‘If you survive, you’ve got the role.’ And it really was an experience,” Idris said while laughing. “I was walking around South Central, I had to stay in character, so I wasn’t allowed to be British.”

Related: Twitter Debates If ‘Snowfall’ Is Better Than ‘The Wire’

Thankfully Singleton didn’t actually leave him all alone. In fact, as they both explained in a previous interview on The Breakfast Club back in July 2018, the two were walking together in the heart of South Central and spent time at a spot where formerly incarcerated men were transitioning back into society. It was there Idris had to drop his accent in order to sell himself.

“I said to his mother, ‘Oh, how lovely your hair looks today. I’m just going to go and put this in a bin.’ And she goes, ‘John, he ain’t from here, huh?’ Nearly lost the part. But hey, six seasons later, here we are,” he joked to Barrymore.

The sixth and final season of Snowfall starring Idris, Isaiah John, Angela Lewis, Amin Joseph and Gail Bean airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX. When we caught up with the cast during the premiere they reflected on their time with Singleton and how he was honored during the final season.


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