Who is Damson Idris who plays drug dealer Franklin Saint in FX’s Snowfall?

Damson Idris plays drug dealer Franklin Saint. Credit: Matthias Clamer/FX
Damson Idris plays drug dealer Franklin Saint. Credit: Matthias Clamer/FX

Snowfall is a brand new crime drama set during the crack explosion in 1980s Los Angeles, but who is actor Damson Idris who play young drug dealer Franklin Saint?

Damson Idris was born in London, England, in 1991 and is of Nigerian ancestry.

He comes from a big family with three brothers and two sisters, all raised by his mother on her own. As the youngest he excelled at sports and was inspired by Christiano Ronaldo to play soccer. He was also very keen at playing rugby and even got to meet the Queen when his team was part of Jubilee celebrations.

However, as he got older it became clear that he was not going to make it in the fiercely competitive world of professional soccer. Instead he decided to follow in the footsteps of his siblings and get a decent education. Instead of studying business like them, he enrolled at Brunei University London and got a degree in Theatre and Television studies.

It was while at university that he ran into Mona Lisa actress Cathy Tyson, who really encouraged him to get into acting. On her advice he auditioned for a part in a play and got the role.

Soon he was signed up to an agent and several theatrical roles followed. Idris also took up further training at the Identity School of Acting and soon after he decided that he’d like to work in TV and movies.

Idris on BBC show Casualty at a bedside
Up until Snowfall most of of Idris’s roles have been minor like this on BBC show Casualty. Credit: BBC

He’s had several small roles in several British TV series Babylon, Doctors, Casualty and Miranda.

However, his big break has come with one the lead parts in FX’s new crime drama Snowfall. Idris play an entrepreneurial 19-year-old who decides to put his smarts into a criminal career as he steps into the world of drug dealing just as the crack explosion happens in Los Angeles.

He won the role via a video audition and then spent a day with Boyz in the Hood director John Singleton, who wanted to make sure that Idris could nail the accent for the role.

In addition to Snowfall he’s also due to appear in UK supernatural TV series Astral and alongside Kate Beckinsale in the movie drama Farming.

This year Idris also won an emerging talent award at the Screen Nation Film and Television Awards in London, so his star is rising very fast indeed.

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