EXCLUSIVE: DeRay Davis Talks Playing Lauren London’s Husband In ‘Snowfall’ Pilot, Says Mike Epps Is His ‘Favorite Comedian On Earth’ + Recalls Thinking John Singleton Ignored Him When They First Met
DeRay Davis is getting candid about being a part of FX’s Snowfall pilot, how Lee Daniels helped his acting skills, his favorite comedian of all time, and more during an exclusive interview with theJasmineBRAND.
While he now plays a gangster named Peaches on the series, he was originally cast for a different part opposite actress Lauren London.
“I was cast as another role. I was cast as [Jerome Saint] initially. I filmed the pilot, Louie was played by the lovely Lauren London, one of the strongest people I know. That’s my homie… It’s really crazy about the casting because John Singleton loved Lauren, he loved me, and the chemistry he wanted, I think on-screen – we’re cool ’cause we’re like buddy-buddy, but as far as us being husband and wife, it would’ve taken probably about season three for me to feel comfortable.”
He explained that she’s known as “Nipsey Hussle’s girl” as she dated the rapper and activist for roughly five years before he was fatally shot in 2019. Ultimately, Angela Lewis and Amin Joseph played the roles.
“Although she’s beyond beautiful and beyond fine, that’s Nipsey [Hussle’s] girl. One, I’m very respectful of things that like. Two, we had this brother/sister s***-talking thing all the time… I don’t see it [as] affectionate as you see Angela [Lewis] and Amin [Joseph] play and that passion they can just get into…”
He then joked,
“They scrapped that pilot. They was like ‘The n***a too light-skinned.’ That’s what it was. I saw how they looked at me…” They looked at me like ‘He ain’t never killed nobody.’ They don’t know my history… I have never benefitted off being light-skinned.”
He credited Lee Daniels for helping him with his acting skills, even when it came to something as small as his character on Fox’s Empire watching television.
“When I did ‘Empire’ I was doing a scene where Chris Rock was coming to talk to me and I was watching TV… I’m trying to look all sexy and Lee Daniels, he said DeRay is that how you watch TV? That ain’t how you watch TV. You watch TV like that at home? And I’m like I’m not seeing what he’s seeing. He was like ‘Drop dog, watch TV’… I needed that direction. I don’t need the direction to make me verbal, I need the direction so I can…my silence is a silencer. It’s still deadly…”
“He was like a brother. I remember when I first saw him, I was so excited to meet him because I was a fan of his work for so long. Kevin Hart at the time, he used to be my friend before he got rich… I think [it was] ‘Soul Plane’. I chased John down, he was trying to get around me to get to Kevin. Halle Berry was there. He was talking to them people. I was like ‘That’s alright.’ We had a friend there, and the friend was like ‘Oh DeRay, John heard your comedy before.’ I said ‘Nah, I just tried to speak to him.’ He said, ‘He didn’t see you.’ I [said], ‘He saw me, I’m right in front of him.’ He was saying that John didn’t have his glasses on, so he literally didn’t see me.”
“When we finally met again, I just explained to him my life and everybody knew how my life really read through my comedy. He came out and he saw me and he told me he was a fan of what I could do and what he thought I could do.”
“You got to remember what black people have been through. That’s what we keep forgetting and missing. We’re able to tell a story and after we tell you the story, the story keeps getting passed down. That doesn’t only hold true with the other people’s book and their stories where it gets passed down, it’s our stories too. So John told the story with enough vivid paint. He was able to paint this picture vivid enough so [co-creator] Dave Andron and the other writers and all the great creators were able to take his story and embellish it or make it stronger or stay on the correct path of what he wanted to do.”
“I love that people talking…now all the people that didn’t witness people doing dope, all the people’s mama who wasn’t on crack, like my mom was on crack, so I love when they talk…about how [it] makes black people look. How do you want black people to look in a way that it doesn’t always exist? I love the new black Hollywood. I appreciate everybody, the Lil Rels of the world, all those actors that are telling these stories so new that I didn’t even know existed.”
“It’s not glorifying crack or cocaine but I’ll tell you this – when I grew up that’s the only thing I saw. I saw that out the door and I saw other people being successful. I saw black people with no opportunity have businesses, become CEOs in maybe not the most politically correct way but they became CEOs they became businessmen. They became Jay-Z…Now Jigga’s with Beyonce. [It’s] explosive, Diddy’s world right now. His father came from a rugged world and he was able to teach his son enough to become a CEO in a business that didn’t even exist at the time so shut up is what I would say to anybody who’ll say ‘You’re telling the wrong [story]’, we’re glorifying crack. No, it’s not. You didn’t watch it just like Jay said. Do you listen to lyrics or do you skim through? What are you doing for real? You’re not paying attention to the story. No one’s saying this is the best lifestyle…”
“To this day if Kevin Hart, who’s like all-around top five, what he did with comedy. who he brought up, yeah he listened. Tiffany Haddish, we listened. She listened because that’s what we do. If someone’s giving you an honest joke or just giving you an easier segue way or something like that, that’s what we do.”
“Mike Epps is my favorite comedian on earth. He’s the best number one standup for me to just watch…”
“We don’t know who’s racist or what racist moments are coming up. When they do arise… if you’re across the street and you saying n***er, you’re over there. I’m not going to chase you down. I’m not going to chase you down dog [like] ‘What you say?!’ Like ‘Man go home. You’re going to eventually run into somebody on your path that’s going to slow you down. I’m not going [out of my way] and I think we go out of our way a lot now to be offended.”
Instead of just unfollowing you be like ‘I’m gonna follow more, I’m gonna see more disrespectful [stuff]. Oh he said this, oh she said that, Oh I want to see more to be more offended.’ I don’t care.”
“I want people to win so you don’t have to ask me for s***.”
What are your thoughts on what DeRay Davis had to say? Comment and let us know!