Houston actor helps heat up new season of ‘Snowfall’
Well, it’s official — Jordan R. Coleman is snap-famous.
The Humble-born actor has been out in Los Angeles for nearly a decade. And, after years of struggling, he’s gotten to the point where people see him and try to figure out where they know this guy from.
“Honestly, that hasn’t happened to me too much,” says Coleman, 32, on the phone from LA. “There has been, like, one or two times where somebody was like, ‘Hey, wait a minute! I know you!’ It’s more of, like, the whole finger-snap thing, where they’re like, ‘Wait, wait, man! Hold on! What are you on? Are you on something?’ ”
While Coleman has done guest shots on such shows as
“Black-ish,” “Shameless” and “A Million Little Things,” he’s mostly known these days for his role on “Snowfall,” which starts its fourth season Feb. 24 on FX.
Coleman joined the show in Season 3, right before filmmaker/co-creator John Singleton passed away from a heart attack in 2019. Coleman says the “Boyz n the Hood” director took a liking to him when he auditioned, especially since he recognized the actor from a bit part on “Rebel,” another show Singleton produced.
“So, I go in, get the audition, do the callback,” remembers Coleman. “John is in the room for the callback, and it’s crazy because, you know, it’s John Singleton. You know who this person is. So, like, to have him there for the callback — it was
kinda surreal. And, after booking the role, I went and I had a meeting with him. And he told me, ‘Yeah, I remember you. You were on ‘Rebel.’ And I was like, ‘OK, you remember me from that!’ ”
Getting recognized for his acting work wasn’t something Coleman dreamed of achieving as a youngster. Ever since he was 6, he thought he was going to grow up to be a pro football player. But while attending Humble High School, his knack for commanding a room got the attention of his technical theater teacher.
“The only reason why I was taking tech theater was because it was an elective,” he says. “And my teacher, Tim Jackubek, would see me cutting up with people — telling jokes, being funny, this and that. And the school was doing a production of ‘Of Mice and Men.’ And he pulled me aside one day after class and was like, ‘Hey, Jordan, you’re a big guy.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m big.’ He was like, ‘Would you want to be in a play?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I guess.’
“I think he just saw that I could maybe — like, that I had something,” he adds. “But then, once I started acting, it was like, ‘Oh damn — I love this even more than I love sports.’ So, I kinda just made a switch at that point.”
Coleman’s burly demeanor definitely works in his favor on “Snowfall,” where he plays Fatback, one of the many supporting characters in this LA-based drama, set in the 1980s, when crack was just hitting the streets and drug dealers could become kingpins .
For Coleman, he has to achieve the right mix of mirth and menace whenever he plays Fatback, who mostly serves as the bodyguard/enforcer for hotheaded street lieutenant Leon Simmons (Isaiah John).
“Honestly, it’s kind of, I guess, a duality, you could say,” he says. “Because Fatback is the muscle, he is an enforcer, you know. He is somebody that has and does, you know, kill when he needs to — and, you know, moving drugs and having that mentality of just, like, I’ll do whatever it is I need to do. There’s that and, then, he’s also funny. So, I wanted to definitely play and make sure that I do, like, the comedic side of him some justice while also being someone where it’s like, you don’t wanna mess with this dude.”
As for what’s in store for Fatback this season on “Snowfall,” Coleman says he’ll be just one of several characters who’ll have to regularly watch his back.
“I will definitely say that, with the way that things are getting cranked up in Season 4, with people pitted against each other and things like that, I feel Fatback definitely has a role to play, even more so, with not only having to protect himself but (also protecting) Leon in these situations,” he says. “Because it really is, like, more people are coming at them and, you know, people that you thought were your friends end up not being your friends, and you’re having to look over your shoulder even more than you had to in the past.”
While it looks more people will be coming after Fatback on “Snowfall,” Coleman may also get more people coming after him. Let’s hope they don’t start snapping their fingers when they see him.