To complete the newest round of “Snowfall,” the cast and crew had to push through the pain of losing one of its key creative forces.
Oscar-nominated filmmaker John Singleton (“Boyz n the Hood”) was a co-creator and executive producer of FX's drug-culture drama, which debuts its third season tonight.
Several episodes remained to be filmed at the time of his death in April at age 51, and Dave Andron – the “Snowfall” showrunner who created it with Singleton and Eric Amadio – “marvel(s) in thinking about” how those behind and in front of the cameras pressed onward to get the job done.
“People talk about how someone would have wanted something, and I'm always a little skeptical of that,” Andron reflects, “but after years of being around John, everyone was very unequivocal about him not wanting them to stop. He loved that this story was being told, and he was very proud of the direction it had gone in. And people were amazing. They just powered through.
“It was over the last three or four episodes that this happened,” notes Andron. “There were two memorial services, and we shut down for those days. FX was really wonderful about acknowledging that people needed time to process it and to grieve.”
In storytelling terms, Season 3 of “Snowfall” dives deeper into opposing aims regarding the drug trade in mid-1980s Los Angeles. Neighbors Franklin Saint (played by Damson Idris) and Andre Wright (Marcus Henderson) continue on different sides of the law, and Teddy McDonald (Carter Hudson) and the CIA have their own agenda in the crack-cocaine-importing case that local police have been probing in South Central L.A.
“The story is about what happened to the neighborhood,” Andron notes. “Franklin and Andre both love this place, but Franklin has no idea what he will have wrought (through his drug-dealing). We knew it would be rich terrain when we had earned the right to have these two guys go at each other.”
Even after two seasons, Andron says he's gotten little feedback on “Snowfall” from the law-enforcement community, “maybe because they might not want to put themselves in a position of standing up and being counted among people who were letting things just kind of happen (during the period the show covers).”
“Justified” alum Andron reports he and Singleton had a plan for “Snowfall's” future well before the latter's passing. “There was discussion about doing four seasons or five, or even possibly six,” Andron confirms.