Viewers of HBO’s The Wire have certainly gotten shivers from the work of Felicia “Snoop” Pearson, who plays Snoop, the stone cold scary nailgun assassin. When we saw her in the first scene of the first episode of the season, we thought she was a teenage boy, and replayed her scene three times trying to understand what the hell she was saying before we gave up, sat back and marvelled at just how good she is. Stephen King, writing in Entertainment Weekly, called her “perhaps the most terrifying female villain to ever appear in a television series,” and he should know.
After that first show, we looked her up on the Internet and found that 26-year-old Felicia is new to the acting game, “discovered” on the streets of Baltimore, where the series is shot. But tomorrow’s New York Times reveals she’s had a lot of training for the role– and not from community theatre or acting classes.
Tough girl Michelle Rodriguez has got nothing on Felicia.“I was a crack baby,” Felicia tells The Times. “I was, like, three pounds, and I had to get fed with an eyedropper.”
Born to two drug addicted, incarcerated parents, raised in foster homes, “she added that she had so many drugs in her system when she was born that she was cross-eyed as a child. ‘Kids would tease me, saying that I’m cross-eyed and don’t have a real mother, and all those kids who said those mean things, I beat the hell out of them.’”
There’s more: selling drugs at 10, jailed at 14 for more than seven years after shooting a woman.
Felicia tells The Times her life turned around at 18, when a local drug dealer who looked out for her, nicknamed her “Snoop” and sent her money in prison, was shot and killed. Felicia earned her G.E.D. in prison, and was released in 2000. She got the Wire gig after meeting Michael K. Williams, who plays Omar the gay gangster.
The Times makes mention of Felicia’s often-unintelligible accent, and refers us to a fan who watches her scenes with closed-captioning.
Not a bad idea.
Finally, Felicia is taking acting classes, at the Baltimore School for the Arts. She should bstart memorizing and acceptance speech or two. And apparently you don’t have to be afraid to meet her. “I did what I did when I was younger, but I am a changed person,” she tells The Times. “I hope and pray that someone reads my story, or hears me talk about my story and will be, like, ‘She did it, I will see what my chances are.’ “
Now you have a reason to check out The New York Times and The Wire.