10 Things To Know About La Brea From the Cast and Creators

Eoin Macken, Natalie Zea, Jon Seda, Chiké Okonkwo, Zyra Gorecki, Jack Martin, and the creators of La Brea preview what's in store in NBC's new action-packed fantasy series. .

by | September 28, 2021 | Comments

Not since downtown Los Angeles was ripped apart by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in 2015 Dwayne Johnson film San Andreas has California experienced this level of disaster on screen. Angelenos sitting impatiently in traffic in front of the La Brea tar pits have more than gridlock to worry about in NBC series La Brea; a giant sinkhole opens up and swallows commuters, who wake up below in a new world full of unfamiliar dangers.

The cast and creators of La Brea spoke with Rotten Tomatoes before the series premiere and shared 10 things to know about the heartpounding new series.


We challenge anyone who’s been stuck in traffic on Wilshire Blvd. between La Brea and and Fairfax avenues to spot the difference. La Brea films in Australia and duplicated the title location there, using visual effects to recreate some of the Los Angles street’s noticeable landmarks.

“We went to a place in Australia that had similar east/west kind of views,” executive producer Bryan Wyndbrandt said. Bay Street in Melbourne stood in for Wilshire.

“Destroying Los Angeles has kind of become an important part of cinema over the last however many years,” series creator David Appelbaum added. “For us, the pleasure is not so much about seeing our city destroyed, but about creating an exciting action-adventure story and an emotional story at its heart.”


LA BREA stars Natalie Zea and Jack Martin

(Photo by Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

When the survivors awaken below, they find themselves in a sunny field. The more they explore, the more dangers they find including hostile terrain and primal animals. Natalie Zea, who plays Eve Harris on La Brea, said the weather in Australia did not mimic actual sunny California weather.

“It’s movie magic,” Zea said. “It’s also what you do as an actor. You put on the silk blouse in 30-degree weather and say here’s who I am.”


LA BREA stars Natalie Zea, Jon Seda, and Chiké Okonkwo

(Photo by Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

Other survivors joining Eve below include Dr. Sam Velez (Jon Seda). His medical experience will come in handy when survivors are injured.

“I think every sinkhole needs a doctor,” Seda said. “So I think Dr. Sam brings a pretty, simply in the medical field of that nature. And he’s a former Navy SEAL so he has some pretty good instincts as to how to survive.”

Ty Coleman (Chiké Okonkwo) is a psychiatrist, in case any of the survivors need therapy down there. Frankly, Ty may be in need of some emotional support himself.

“Mental health has, of course during the pandemic, become such a priority and has rightfully so been pushed to the forefront more than before,” Okonkwo said. “He’s a man who has studied the brain, and we’ll find out that that’s relevant in lots of ways. He’s a man who understands the pressures that humans are under.”


Chiké Okonkwo stars in La Brea

(Photo by Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

Okonkwo added that Ty’s whereabouts prior to the sinkhole would be important. The viewer meets Eve, Sam and their kids in their cars when the sinkhole occurs. Okonkwo said you’ll find out where Ty was later in the season.

“Ty’s been traveling from west to east on Wilshire from a particular appointment which will become relevant later on,” Okonkwo said.


LA BREA stars Zyra Gorecki and Eoin Macken

(Photo by Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

La Brea does not take place entirely below ground. Eve’s daughter, Izzy (Zyra Gorecki) makes it to safety. She and her father, Gavin (Eoin Macken) seek answers to bring their family home.

“We have more of the kind of Dan Brown, Da Vinci Code, Indiana Jones kind of action at the top,” Macken said.

Wyndbrandt elaborated a bit on the Dan Brown analogy.

“We wanted to have fun in that Dan Brown kind of Three Days of the Condor–esque thriller; put the government in a position where they know information that we don’t,” Wyndbrandt said. “He’s talking about the Dan Brown of it all where he has to uncover clues that there are people who know answers that will not only shed light on where his family is, but why he has a connection to this place.”


LA BREA star Eoin Macken

(Photo by Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

Even before the sinkhole opens, the viewer meets Gavin in a therapy session, dealing with visions he’s seen since an airplane accident he had as a former pilot. Once the Harrises and other families fall into the sinkhole, Gavin’s visions start to connect to their predicament.

“That actually goes to places that I don’t think you’re going to expect because I didn’t even expect it,” Macken said. “Fundamentally important to Gavin’s character is being able to have that redemptive arc, both as a father and as a professional as a pilot. And also being able to use those negative experiences he had to try and finally understand himself and get his family back.”


LA BREA bird

(Photo by NBC)

Down below, Eve and the other survivors run into vicious primal animals. La Brea keeps the actors safe from those and many are created with visual effects. However, Zea said there are some bening animals on the set.

“I got to hang out with a rabbit,” Zea said.

There are other animals you won’t even get to see on La Brea. Although they film in Australia, the show isn’t set in Australia so they have to keep the native species out of frame. Jack Martin, who plays Eve’s son Josh, described some of the creatures roaming the set.

“There’s a bunch of real animals both in the show and also running around in the background when we’re not shooting,” Martin said. “There are kangaroos on every set, I think.”


Zyra Gorecki and Natalie Zea in La Brea

(Photo by Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

Izzy has a prosthetic leg, and it’s a plot point in the show. Eve describes the accident that caused Izzy to lose her leg in the story. In real life, Gorecki wears a prosthetic leg herself.

“David is absolutely amazing when it comes to writing and we had quite a few conversations about what it is like to be an amputee,” Gorecki said. “He would bring that into the script. Also being able to play an amputee character as an amputee is an honor truly. I think it’s fun to play characters as an amputee that aren’t necessarily an amputee, but also for them to have that representation, it does make you feel very good. To be able to look on screen and be able to go, ‘I look like that. That’s what I look like. That means that I can do it too.’ It’s a big deal.”


Jack Martin in La Brea

(Photo by Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

Both Sam and Eve have teenage kids in the sinkhole with them. While the parents are trying to find food and shelter, Josh and Riley (Veronica St. Clair), Sam’s daughter, may just hit it off.

“I think while there is crazy action in this show and there’s a lot of wild plot events, I think what makes it really good is the character relationships,” Martin said. “I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll definitely get to see that play out.”

Zea said she understood how the kids took advantage of their situation.

“What a great place to get into some mischief,” Zea said. “’My parents are really distracted with survival, so let’s go make out.’”



(Photo by Sarah Enticknap/NBC)

The world below is full of running, climbing and fighting. There was plenty for the actors to do themselves.

“We got thrown in, literally thrown in at the deep end from the very start,” Okonkwo said. “From episode one, it’s this kinetic, high-octane adventure, and it doesn’t let up quite frankly. It keeps on going, especially for myself, Jon, and Natalie Zea. Our characters are really in it for the first two or three episodes.”

Seda said he was surprised the action was so immediate. He thought he’d have a grace period to get warmed up.

“We’re just physically going through a lot of things I don’t think many of us really expected we were going to be doing right from the start,” Seda said. “So it’s demanding in its own way but it’s really exciting. It really is, at the end of the day, it’s fun to be a part of.”

La Brea premieres at 9/8C on Tuesday, September 28 on NBC.

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