Worlds collide in ‘ Snowfall’
PASADENA, Calif.— Threeworlds collide in FX’s new series, “Snowfall,” and there to pick up the pieces are filmmaker John Singleton and co- creator Dave Andron.
The series, which premieresWednesday, follows thewave of crack cocaine that inundated the kitchens of South Central L. A. and the board rooms of Hollywood in the early ’ 80s.
“We are operating in three very distinct worlds in this show,” Andron said. “We’re in South Central. We’re in the CIA world. And we’re also in East Los Angeles aswell. And it was really important to us … to be really thorough about all of it.”
The show starts in South Central Los Angeles. “This came from John,” Andron said. “We couldn’t ask for a better resource, really, than that for the authenticity of that world and being thorough.”
Singleton, best known for “Boyz N the Hood,” and “2 Fast 2 Furious,” agrees.
“I could speak to that because I think my life changedwhen I was in the eighth grade. I crossed the 405 Freeway for the first time into Tarzana, Encino, and enrolled myself into public school at Portola Junior High School in theValley,” he said.
“( Iwent) fromgoing to school in South Central, where I had to fight every day and defend myself, and getmy lunchmoney taken…
“L. A., for me, is full of villages. It’s like all these disparate villages all around the whole city. Andwhenyoudothat, andyougofromone world to another, and you can’t help but open your eyes and see a difference. Everything is different: theway the peoplewere interacting was different; the way you’re interacting with peoplewasdifferent. Andit forms a character.”
The main character in “Snowfall,” is a young, black go- getter determined to make a better life for himself and seduced by the pecuniary power of selling crack. His focus and drive are similar to Singleton’s who decided when he was only 9 years old he wanted to be a filmmaker.
“I went to school with the express notion of graduating from film school and coming out like a first- round draft pick in the NFL, but in the film business. I was going to get out of school and I was going to make a movie. And I did,” he said.
One of the sources for “Snowfall” is Gary Webb’s articles and book, “Dark Alliance: the CIA, the Contras, and the Crack Cocaine Explosion,” which claim that the CIA was complicit in facilitating the drug trade.
“I think that what probably, frankly, happened was that people looked the other way,” Andron said. “I don’t think there was any conspiracy to bring crack to the inner city or destroy a people. I think they ( the authorities) looked the other way. And look, at the time, cocaine was a richwhite man’s drug. Nobody sawwhat crackwould do to these people.”
The third component of the series is the Hispaniccommunityof East L. A. andhowthe pestilence of crack cocaine infected its inhabitants. Emily Rios plays the ambitious daughter of a Mexican gangster who has already cornered the marijuanamarket in the region.
“She sees the financial gain in the cocaine world, and that’swhat shewants to get into,” Rios said, who’s best known as Andrea Cantillo in “Breaking Bad.”
Playing the young entrepreneurial lead is British actor Damson Idris, who said that crime and violence and greed are not unique to theUnited States.
“I think we’re all one people, and we’re all in thisworld together. I grewup in London in a poor community, so I was surrounded by black people and surrounded by poor white people and surrounded by poor Asian people. So there was community. And I didn’t know anything across the River Thames. I think violence is everywhere,” he said.
British actor Damson Idris plays the lead in FX’s new series, “Snowfall,” premiering Wednesday.