The scene after the Snowfall title card drops in Season 4’s Episode 9 features four fascinating minutes of family, fists and fury. It centers on Amin Joseph‘s emotionally amped-up Jerome seeking immediate retribution after his wife Louie has been shot at a funeral, with Damson Idris’ Franklin Saint sacrificing his body to stop his uncle from walking into Manboy’s ambush. Below, TVLine Dream Emmy nominee Joseph and Snowfall director Carl Seaton deconstruct how they turned Jerome’s superior physical strength into a weakness.
CARL SEATON | It is unapologetically a very Black moment that took two to three hours to shoot. Jerome is a man unleashed and somebody’s gotta pay. Franklin is trying to use logic but emotion won’t let Jerome hear logic. Jerome has to get his emotions out and Leon and the other men know you can’t get between family disputes… because if you do, they will stop and whoop your ass. It’s a universal truth. You have to let it ride and hope it doesn’t get too violent. It’s two alpha males on a collision course. We choreographed stunts and rehearsed beforehand and angled the camera so it looked like punches landed. And Amin checked on Damson after each take.
AMIN JOSEPH | I come from a fighting background and the writers know that. Being physical comes quite naturally. Anytime I’ve been physical on Snowfall, I love that it’s not just for the sake of throwing bodies around. [It’s about] protection and fighting for what makes sense to Jerome. Franklin takes the fight out of Jerome, who is willing to run through his nephew to avenge Louie. Not to give too much away for the next season, but Jerome in that moment evolves and becomes a more callous killer.
SEATON | I told Amin [that] Jerome’s objective is to get to that driver’s side door of his IROC-Z, either around Franklin or through him. Amin digs beneath the subtext and, with every swing and grab, you see his shoulders and face get more slack and his fists eventually drop.
JOSEPH | The scene for me is all about this man in beast mode who is willing to take himself off the board and walk into an ambush beating his chest. The scene is not about the fighting because fighting is easy. It’s the story of the fight and what each punch means, [and] how Jerome is hurt that Franklin and Louie kept the CIA’s role a secret.
SEATON | By the time Jerome calls Franklin a “stupid motherf—er,” he sighs the words. He knows this is not the fight, and Amin shows you that by lessening Jerome’s physicality.
JOSEPH | When it’s over, Jerome looks at his young nephew, a mirror image of himself crumpled up on the ground, bleeding by his hands, and sees that Franklin’s will in that moment is stronger than his, and Jerome becomes more calculated.