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‘Snowfall’ Cast, Producers Say ‘Nothing Too Drastic’ Will Change on FX Drama in the Wake of John Singleton’s Death

TCA 2019: ”We still keep a chair on set with his name on it, and he’s empowered all of us to keep going on,“ star Damson Idris says

The producers and cast of FX’s “Snowfall” paid tribute to the show’s late co-creator John Singleton at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, remembering the filmmaker as a creative genius, generous collaborator and occasionally clumsy friend.

The two-time Oscar nominee came up several times during the show’s panel — including a tribute reel featuring highlights from Singleton’s groundbreaking films — with the panelists describing how they and the show would all be forever indebted to him.

“Nothing too drastic will change,” co-creator and showrunner Dave Andron said. “At this point, having had four years with him thinking about the show, talking about the show, knowing the place in his heart that it came from … I think we feel pretty comfortable telling the story that he wanted to tell.”

Producer Walter Mosley attributed their ability to continue on to Singleton’s ability to empower his collaborators to realize a shared vision.

“John was extraordinarily generous,” Mosley said. “He was not the kind of person who felt the need to micromanage or control what you were doing. He gave out ideas, but he treated everybody — the actors and the writers — as equals. Because of that, the transition will be a smooth one.”

Added series star Damson Idris, “I’d say that he’s still there. We still keep a chair on set with his name on it, and he’s empowered all of us to keep going on and keep creating the greatness that is ‘Snowfall.'”

Singleton, best remembered as the director of films such as “Boyz n the Hood” and “Shaft” and the first African American filmmaker to receive a Best Director nomination at the Academy Awards, died earlier this year at the age of 51 after suffering a stroke.

On Tuesday, FX renewed the series for a fourth season, and Andron said he and Singleton had mapped out a five-year arc for the show.

“I think we both kind of shared the enjoyment of letting certain things unfold, but we did talk extensively talk about what happened in South Central and that transformation,” he said. “We had a very good sense of the roadmap.”

On a personal level, however, Singleton’s collaborators have felt the loss much more acutely.

“He was such an icon to me, such a legend,” Idris said, remembering the time he spent trying to absorb as many lessons about Hollywood from Singleton he could. “He taught me that this industry is full of highs and lows, and everyone you see on the way up, you’re gonna see on the way down … He really was my big brother.”

“I remember the first season, the first episode that we shot, I was intimidated working for John Singleton and really wanted to do my best,” Michael Hyatt said. “I asked him a question on set and he immediately diffused any of my apprehension, my fear. He was like ‘Let’s go back to your trailer and talk.’ We talked for like half an hour … and he allowed himself to be incredibly vulnerable with me.”

“That is the man that I’ve known and have taken on this incredible journey with me,” she said.