In the show, Fif plays an inmate named Cassius Dawkins. Speaking with Fox News at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, Fif discussed the roles he typically plays for TV and in films.
While 50 usually plays guys “that like to do bad things,” the Queens native told Fox News that his role in For Life is probably the “last time” we’ll see him act as a criminal or co-conspirator. He’s held similar roles for other projects, like Kanan in Power, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro’s 2008 film Righteous Kill, and Bruce Willis’ 2011 action movie Set Up.
“I'm just offering what I know the audience is willing to embrace at the present moment and therefore, now I'm moving to some different things like this,” he told Fox, when answering a question about whether he is drawn to these roles because they relate to his own upbringing. “Like, this will probably be the last time you see me play this kind of guy, you know.”
“There are no similarities between Cassius Dawkins and Kanan [Stark] when you see the characters,” Jackson continued. “You'll understand one is a guy who never made any money. So if you’ve never made any money on the street and he's incarcerated, then comes the altercations inside the jail—and developing reputations from having those altercations and then he finds a bigger home in jail than on the outside because he doesn't mean anything to the free world. You only mean something in jail.”
For Life is inspired by the life of Isaac Wright Jr., a former prisoner who later became a lawyer and fought cases for other inmates. He was also working to repeal his own life sentence for a crime he didn’t commit.