Damson Idris on the hardest scene he's had to film for Snowfall

The breakout star of the critically acclaimed show spoke about how his real life bled into a season two prison scene.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 17: Damson Idris attends FX's "Snowfall" season 5 premiere at Gra...
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Across the five seasons of the acclaimed FX show Snowfall that has made Damson Idris a breakout star, the actor has a specific scene that he can identify as the most difficult one he’s had to do. In an interview with Men’s Health, Idris referred to a Season 2 scene in which his character, Franklin Saint, speaks to his parents from jail.

“The hardest scene to film was when Franklin was in prison and had to confront Alton and Cissy through the mirror. I was so deep in it, and my relationship with my father bled into the scene,” Idris said. “Alton, played by Kevin Carroll, was no longer Kevin Carroll to me. He was someone else. Our showrunner Dave Andron, who wrote the episode, told me he cried when he wrote it. After I did the first rehearsal, he came over to me and said, ‘I cried when I wrote this, and that’s exactly how I pictured it. What you’re doing right now is exactly how I pictured it.’"

In the scene, Franklin lashes out after his father attempts to comfort and reassure him through prison glass. Alton was previously homeless after falling victim to alcohol abuse and abandoning the family, later reuniting with Franklin’s mother, Cissy, that season. “You wait til’ fuckin now, when I’m in here, to be a fuckin’ dad?” he says in the scene. Soon, he is dragged away by guards while screaming out at his father: “Don’t fuckin’ come back to this place! You were never fuckin’ there for me.”

The scene, which Idris said was “incredibly spiritual” as the final episode that the late John Singleton (the revered filmmaker who co-created the show) directed, spoke not only to his own relationship with his father, but to the lives of many other Black men, the actor noted.

“Looking back at it, those words definitely speak closely to the feelings of many young Black men today who don’t have their fathers in their lives,” Idris said. “I was representing them, and that’s why it was so difficult.”

Speaking to this experience for viewers is what Idris finds most validating in spite of Snowfall being overlooked by major awards, while the show has drawn near-universal critical praise, it has yet to garner a Golden Globe or Emmy nomination.

“The biggest thing that matters is the story being told, and you’re changing the lives of people who view it,” Idris said. “Snowfall is one million percent changing people’s lives. People come up to me and say, ‘Man, I was watching your show while I was in jail. You got me through my bid.’ There are people who have been through horrific circumstances and are terminally ill on hospital beds who love this show. We’re connecting with the people. We’re not connecting with a small group of people who vote on who’s going to win a trophy. This show is connecting to the world.”