'Snowfall' Season 2 Could Turn Franklin Into a 'Beastly, Monstrous Man,' FX Star Damson Idris Says

When fans were first introduced to Franklin Saint in the first season of FX's hit series Snowfall, he was a good, easy-going and smart kid with a world of opportunity ahead of him. Season 2, however, may bring a more "beastly, monstrous" Franklin to the forefront as he continues to grow his crack-cocaine empire in South LA, according to the show's lead star Damson Idris.

"I said this the first season, as these challenges and these conflicts keep overwhelming him, and the more he fails, he's definitely gonna start losing his soul," the British actor told Newsweek. "The beautiful kid that we know is going to turn into the beastly monstrous man. That's what the drug game does."

It's not all that surprising to hear Franklin's kind-hearted spirit will start to sour in Season 2, considering that he's falling deeper into the bloody and aggressive drug trade. He has a bigger team to feed and his list of enemies is growing by the minute.

Not to mention, the Season 2 premiere saw 19-year-old Franklin fall into the web of Reid Thompson, aka undercover CIA agent Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson), which is only likely to lead to more bloodshed when Franklin stops dealing with his connect Avi (Alon Aboutboul) and begins getting his drugs straight from the source.

Find out more about Franklin's Season 2 journey and check out Newsweek's full interview with Idris below.

What are some aspects of Franklin that you love?

The most important thing I love about Franklin is his love for his mom. That's, of course, the main reason why he's doing what he's doing. He has a strong connection to family and a strong loyalty to family. He understands he can't accomplish anything without his family.

How will the demise of his relationship with his mother affect him? Will he grow colder because of her sudden rejection of him now that he's a drug dealer?

Franklin is already becoming colder. I said this the first season, as these challenges and these conflicts keep overwhelming him and the more he fails, he's definitely gonna start losing his soul. The beautiful kid that we know is going to turn into the beastly, monstrous man. That's what the drug game does. The situation with his mom is one that he constantly thinks about, constantly wants to resolve but due to his actions, he's struggling with that. So he may have to find his love in other areas.

He seemed to have some love vibes going on with Melody (Reign Edwards), but she disapproves of his work too.

Melody's so important to Franklin. Above all characters, Melody and Cissy Saint (Michael Hyatt) are the two people who make Franklin feel like a boy again. To everyone else, he's a boss and a man-fort. He kinda puts up this barrier, but he can really be his self around Melody and he can really be his self around his mom. So they're so important to the story.

What kind of challenges will Franklin face now that he's essentially the boss and has a handle on his team?

The problem with Franklin is that he's spontaneous. Although strategic and intelligent, he still doesn't understand all the elements of this game. So he's gonna be forced to empower other people. And when they mess up he's gonna have to pick up the pieces. So definitely this season [there's] so much conflict, both exteriorly and interiorly. And that's something Franklin's gonna have to deal with, and viewers are gonna have to deal with. It's a character that we love and ultimately we always have to choose sides.

Why hasn't Franklin actually killed anyone yet?

Because he's got a heart. He really isn't your everyday drug dealer. He didn't get into this business to be killing people. From the very first episode of Season 1, you saw when he got his first [kilogram of cocaine], he did not want a gun when Aunt Louie (Angela Lewis) offered him one. That's proof of who this guy is. He thought he could do this and still be himself. Get in and get out.

Now he's getting in bed with Teddy—

[Laughs] He's not getting in bed with Teddy, he's being dragged in bed with Teddy! Spoiler alert: That ending episode [1] shocked everyone. It shocked me when I read it on the page. Both parties are desperate and both parties want to keep this thing going, so we'll have to wait 'til episode 2 to see how that rolls out.

Damson Idris Teases 'Snowfall' Season 2
Carter Hudson as Teddy McDonald in FX series "Snowfall." Damson Idris talked about his character Franklin's partnership with Hudson's character in an interview with Newsweek. Byron Cohen/FX

Teddy is an interesting character. I never know how to feel about him because I don't really know his underlining motive.

There's a lot to learn from Reid Thompson's character. He's a type of person who I see as the Diablo of this situation. If we're all gonna run with the idea that the government turned a blind eye [to drug trafficking], this is someone we ultimately really really don't wanna dislike. But Carter Hudson's such a phenomenal actor that he keeps you in that limbo. And he really breaks it down and makes you wonder why he feels so strongly that what he's doing is right. I think the reason for that is because many of these characters in the show have no idea what [the sale of drugs is] gonna mean in 2018. We're able to sit back as a viewer and really go back to that time and understand why these people made the choices they made, and then sympathize that.

What's the most shocking aspect of the show's storyline to you?

The most shocking thing for me was that this operation—the Nicaraguan War—wasn't shut down from the very beginning. These funds had to be found someway, but there are so many other ways the [government] could have funded this without the detriment of so many innocent communities. And the fact that this was known to so many people in power and nothing was done from the early stages, it's really heartbreaking. Unfortunately, the War on Drugs came at a time when it wasn't gonna help anything but make things worse. Things were already bad by that time.

Essentially the show reveals it was a black man who brought crack into the hood—which in some aspects was very creative because he had to find a way to sell the coke—but he's becoming more and more responsible for the downfall of his own community. It that something Franklin will notice during Season 2?

It's still very early. We really hope to drag out this season and let people understand that crack cocaine was something that shocked everyone. By the time it was noticed, it was too late. Franklin Saint, he's not really on the streets. He's not really getting to see his community. But this season there are glimmers of what's to come. Like I said, this is a remorseful character, but due to the fact that he's in bed with certain people, I feel he's not going to have a choice but to keep selling.

How did you prepare to play Franklin?

I looked at every single quote-on-quote gangster from the past; your Frank Lucas', your Al Capones. They all had one thing in common—they were all great leaders. They were charismatic and people liked them, and by the time people hated them, it was too late. They already had their hooks into them. That's something I really wanted to explore with Franklin in the sense of going the opposite way. I wanted this guy to be a character that people could see themselves as. I wanted him to be someone who wasn't necessarily a great leader, who didn't have everything figured out. Thank God the script helped me so much, and that's why you can see in Season 1 all the mistakes this kid keeps making. I can't image Frank Lucas or Tony Soprano getting beaten up. Yea they made mistakes, but they were able to handle it straight away. But Franklin, not only does he make the mistakes but he doesn't have the heart to handle it. He seeks that help in other people. So as the show goes on, preparing for Franklin has to be done with the utmost strategy and prestige in a sense that as these things happen to him, he's growing every day as man and he's working toward not making those mistakes again.

Are there any commonalities that you share with Franklin that helped bring the character out more?

His relationship with his family. His relationship with his mom. I have a strong relationship with my mom. Unfortunately, me and my father in real life aren't on the best terms and neither is Franklin, so that's something that I can really relate to him with. Being the mascot, or the golden child if you will, and moving up the ladder into a position where you're starting to see less and less faces that look like yours. I can relate to that. I can understand why he chooses to do the things he does, because he doesn't wanna be a mascot and he feels no matter what positive route he takes the game's rigged. He'll never be able to break that. We're seeing that in our communities today. So there's definitely a lot of things I relate to him on. But if I was Franklin or in his world, I'd pull him aside and say stay in school.

It seems like the racial tension in the '80s is getting a little more attention this season.

Ultimately Franklin's main goal is to raise the stakes of his people and his community. This season is really gonna go focus on how inner-city communities—and not only the African American community but also the Latino communities—were really targeted and really took the fall and were thrown under the bus for this huge epidemic. That's something that this season's gonna explore in detail so that we can understand why many of our communities are how they are today. We weren't just born in horrible situations. We were placed in them.

How is it working with John Singleton?

Aw, man. John Singleton is a pleasure. He's taught me so much and I'm constantly learning from him every day. I'm becoming a sponge almost. Every day is a one-on-one on directing or acting. Directing is something that I hope to move into. He's definitely big bro. And he's so passionate about the stories he tells, and that's infectious. It moves through the crew and it causes everyone to wanna be at the top of their game.

Is the show collaborative in terms of the script? Does he allow you to have some say-so in your character's development?

The beauty of Season 2—and you'll see it from the very first episode—is there's a heightened chemistry that has happened. It was there in Season 1, but now I feel like it's so ultimate, so to-the-tee that you actually forget that these people are acting. And that comes with improv. There are many times that we thought that we knew our characters so well that, "No, our character wouldn't say this." We have a team of directors and producers who run with that, writers who run with it. We ask them, "How'd you feel if we put this in?" And they're always like yes because the people they trust the most are the people playing these characters. We have that freedom to do that.

Damson Idris Explains Franklin's Journey on 'Snowfall' Season 2
Amin Jospeh as Uncle Jerome in FX's "Snowfall." Damson Idris talked about working with Joseph during an interview with Newsweek. Byron Cohen/FX

Who's the funniest person to work with?

Ha! That's such a good question. [Laughs] Wow, there's so many funny people to work with there. But I'm gonna say, Uncle Jerome. He's so funny. Amin Joseph is someone that I completely admire. Working with him, he constantly surprises you and he constantly keeps you on your toes. A scene that is so serious he—in such a genius way—manages to see the truth and the comedy within it. It's a complete pleasure to work with someone like that because he really does bring the realness and the real laughter to every situation.

What are you hoping viewers take away from the show this season?

I hope viewers can watch Snowfall and completely destroy the idea that this is a story that doesn't deserve to be told beyond TV. I feel a lot of people don't actually realize how much of an impact the crack cocaine epidemic had particularly on the African American community, and they don't realize why people in our community are in the situations that they're in. John Singleton says slavery and Jim Crow didn't cause African moms to leave their babies willingly, but crack did. That's a huge statement. That really proves this is a drug that destroyed our people. A story like that needs to be told because in order for us to navigate our future, we need to be educated on the past.

Describe Snowfall Season 2 in three words.

Edgy. Historical. Shocking.

Snowfall airs on FX at 10 p.m. on Thursdays.

'Snowfall' Season 2 Could Turn Franklin Into a 'Beastly, Monstrous Man,' FX Star Damson Idris Says | Culture