Worlds col­lide in ‘ Snow­fall’

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - Calendar - BY LUAINE LEE TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

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.

TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

Bri­tish ac­tor Dam­son Idris plays the lead in FX’s new se­ries, “Snow­fall,” pre­mier­ing Wed­nes­day.

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