Interview with actors Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Nicholas Gonzalez, Veronica St. Clair, and Zyra Gorecki; and executive producer David Appelbaum of “La Brea” on NBC by Suzanne 9/15/22
This was for a TV Critics Assocation panel. They have them twice a year, and they’re a lot of fun. We’re not allowed to use photos, videos or transcripts from them, though, so I’m having to quote and paraphrase what was said here. I hope you enjoy it! I love this show. It’s even more exciting this season.
NBC UNIVERSAL 2022 TCA PRESS TOUR NBC LA BREA
Nicholas Gonzalez, Talent
Zyra Gorecki, Talent
Eoin Macken, Talent
Jack Martin, Talent
Veronica St. Clair, Talent
Natalie Zea, Talent
David Appelbaum, Showrunner/Executive Producer
Virtual via Zoom September 15, 2022
Those of us in the press saw the first episode of the show ahead of time. A lot happens in that first episode, and (MINOR SPOILER) Izzy’s artificial leg is damaged. I tried to ask Zyra Gorecki about that, without giving away too much. She admitted that, “both physically and emotionally, she’s having a very difficult time. So the goal is, obviously, they land in Seattle, they’re trying to make it back to L.A., right? That’s a very long walk. That’s a very long walk with two completely there legs, let alone, you know, one leg and a dad that’s got a lot of issues, you know?” I think she put it very well and without giving spoilers. Just know that all is not what it seems when the show starts! There are many surprises in the first episode, so you don’t want to miss it.
Another member of the press asked whether that idea about her leg was from the writers’ or from Gorecki herself. Showrunner David Appelbaum answered that the writers came up with the idea but consulted Gorecki. Gorecki said that it was “very weird” to imagine herself in 10,000 BC and having that happen.
Many journalists were at the panel and asked their questions. Appelbaum was asked whether this season has the same amount of both CGI and non-CGI special effects as last season. He confirmed that there were many special effects this season because the audience expects that, given the setting. He thinks the audience will enjoy it this season even more. He was also asked about physical things the cast interacts with when there is the CGI effect, such as a mastodon. Applebaum explained that sometimes they just use their imagination, while other times they have a proxy that they use. He praised the cast for their imagination and creativity.
Macken joked that their director, Adam Davidson, waves his hands and runs around, which works for him. Everyone laughed. Gonzalez agreed, saying that it can be hard to keep a straight face when Davidson is dressed up in a blue leotard and doing animal impressions. He and Macken joked a bit more about that.
The actors were then asked whether they had “unique acting challenges” this season. Martin spoke vaguely about some problems involved with being in a different time period and having to imagine his own family at that age. Macken added that he felt the scripts were very exciting. He praised Applebaum for giving the actors details about what’s going on in the story and with their characters, so that they can share in the journey and the action.
Gorecki was also asked about a scene where she pet a particular prehistoric baby animal. She replied that it was a foam head of a baby rhino, which Davidson held and wiggled at her. She laughed that it was “super entertaining.” She was also asked about how different it is this season, now that she’s working more with CGI and doing more action. She related that it was very different and had to act like this fake animal was trying to hurt her. She told us that “being afraid of something that isn’t there is wild,” and then she laughed.
Next, Martin was asked about having to learn about a new time period in which his character, Josh, lands. He revealed that he was already obsessed with that decade, especially the music and movies that he loves. He consulted with his relatives and looked at old photos to get an idea about the costumes. He can’t wait for us to see it. Applebaum added that Riley is also a huge part of that story with Josh. St. Clair spoke about how great this new storyline is. She praised their new time period, especially the hair, the costumes and the music. She also loved that it was very different from last season when they had to work in the mud, rain and Australian winter. Zea, whose character stays in 10,000 BC, made a joke about how she shouldn’t rub it in, and everyone laughed.
Gonzalez was asked how his character has evolved since last season. He spoke about how his character is principled and upstanding, yet he had an affair with Eve. Things are different this season because he has to keep everyone safe but is faced with this woman that he loves. He shares that there will be a big test to find out whether friendship or love will win out.
He was also asked whether he still runs because (according to Wikipedia), “he was an accomplished cross-country and track runner, winning the Texas State Championship in the mile and two-mile.” The reporter saw him run when he was in college. Gonzalez answered that he just started running again, so he found it interesting that he was asked this now.
The actors were all asked what they liked most about their characters. Zea told us that she likes that Eve felt like she was just a regular person, but now that she’s faced with this “extraordinary situation,” she is struggling both externally and internally about herself. She also likes that she’s flawed.
Macken shared that he likes how his character is involved with his children and not just his ex-wife. He enjoyed this season’s father-daughter journey, and how Izzy can understand her father more. Gorecki agreed that it’s fun to see how different Izzy and Gavin interact this season, and how she takes more control and grows more.
Martin answered that he thinks his story “is about agency and self actualization.” He likes how Josh is forced to grow up and take on more responsibility than most 17-year-olds and to be heroic, even though “he’s definitely still a kid.”
Gonzalez likes how Levi has to navigate his relationships with Eve and her family, as well as the rest of the characters.
Sinclair likes how Riley is “resilient,” especially when dealing with her father and the other “temperamental men,” even though (as she noted), she’s usually wearing a skirt.
Another question was about what will happen when everyone gets back together – especially with the love triangle, and now that Eve knows that Gavin wasn’t crazy, like she thought.
Zea answered that there will be “Fireworks, baby,” which Applebaum agreed with. She went on to say that she believes they cooperate very well together because of the life or death circumstances. Macken agreed that they had to put their survival ahead of their “emotional complexities.” Gonzalez and Macken joked around a bit about it until Zea said, “All right, boys. You’re both pretty,” which made everyone laugh.
Appelbaum was asked about expanding the original world, which was set in 10,000 BC. He thinks the show has a lot of potential for more growth. He praised NBC, Universal, and all the people that he’s worked with, who have been so supportive, and the writers. He loves how they keep finding “these different layers and elements of what this world is and what the characters are and where the show can go.” He thinks it’s exciting to peel back all the layers. Gonzalez added that as actors, it’s fun to jump into the different time periods and how unpredictable the story is. Martin also chimed in to say how much he likes it when the characters go to different times and places where they’re forced to change.
Gorecki was asked about which city in Michigan she’s from, but she said that it’s a very small town, so she won’t say where because of stalkers. She was also asked how the story about her being an amputee came about. She passed the question to Appelbaum, who said that it was always part of this story, even before they found Gorecki. They did an exhaustive search to find the right actor, he said, and they were very lucky to find Gorecki because “she has this great charisma and this natural talent and just immediately inhabited the role.” He praised her growth in season two.
Appelbaum was asked where he was when he learned that they were being renewed for season two. He laughed and said that they just had a baby, so he was feeding the baby with a bottle when he heard. This was a very sweet way to end our panel!
MORE INFO: Trailer
“La Brea” was a tremendous success in its first season and finished as the number one drama for a first year show. The highly anticipated second season begins Tuesday, September 27th at 9:00 p.m. on NBC and will stream the next day on Peacock.
In Season 2, the Harris family remains separated as Eve is reeling from her son, Josh, having mistakenly gone through a portal to 1988. What she doesn’t know yet is that her estranged husband, Gavin, and their daughter, Izzy, have landed in prehistoric Seattle and now must brave the elements and animals to make their way to L.A. Let’s take a look at a recap of Season 1.
From the Official Website:
Tuesdays on NBC (9-10 p.m. ET); Season Premiere: Sept. 27
“La Brea” follows an epic family adventure after a massive sinkhole opens in Los Angeles pulling people and buildings into a mysterious and dangerous primeval land where they have no choice but to band together to survive. In season two, the Harris family remains separated as Eve is reeling from her son, Josh, having mistakenly gone through a portal to 1988. What she doesn’t know yet is that her estranged husband, Gavin, and their daughter, Izzy, have landed in prehistoric Seattle and now must brave the elements and animals to make their way to L.A.
The cast includes Natalie Zea, Eoin Macken, Jon Seda, Nicholas Gonzalez, Chiké Okonkwo, Zyra Gorecki, Jack Martin, Veronica St. Clair, Rohan Mirchandaney, Lily Santiago, Josh McKenzie, Tonantzin Carmelo and Michelle Vergara Moore.
Creator/Showrunner David Appelbaum executive produces with Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Chris Hollier, Adam Davidson, Bryan Wynbrandt, Steven Lilien, Ken Woodruff, and Arika Lisanne Mittman.
Originally from Texas, Zea made her way to New York where she earned a scholarship to the prestigious American Music and Drama Academy. Shortly after graduation, Zea appeared in Off-Broadway productions of the “Three Sisters” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” until a few years later when she made her television debut in an episode of the short-lived WB drama series “D.C.”
Zea has had recurring roles in “9-1-1: Lone Star,” “The Unicorn” and “Members Only” opposite John Stamos. She was also a series regular during the first three seasons of the FX drama “Justified” and brought on as a recurring character for the fourth season. Oher TV projects include “The Following,” “White Famous,” “Californication,” “The Detour” and “Dirty Sexy Money.”
On the theatrical side, she co-starred in “Happily,” which screened at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival.
Zea helped develop Los Angeles’ reputable Lone Star Ensemble, a theater company in which she serves on the board of directors. She has a 6-year-old daughter with her husband, actor Travis Schuldt, and lives in Los Angeles.
Gavin Harris, “La Brea”
Eoin Macken plays Gavin Harris in the NBC drama “La Brea.”
Macken can also be seen as the male lead in the film “The Cellar,” co-starring Elisha Cuthbert, which premiered at SXSW 2022 and on Shudder. He also wrote, directed and produced “Here Are the Young Men,” adapted from a novel by Rob Doyle, as well as directing and producing the satirical comedy “Grey Elephant.”
Macken’s TV credits include “Stumptown,” “The Night Shift,” “Nightflyers,” “Killing Jesus,” “Merlin” and “The Tudors.” On the film side, Macken’s credits include “Close,” “The Hole in the Ground,” “Here Are the Young Men,” “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter,” “The Forest” and Netflix’s “Till Death,” alongside Megan Fox.
Izzy Harris, “La Brea”
Zyra Gorecki plays Izzy Harris in the NBC drama series “La Brea.”
Gorecki is one of the first below-the-knee amputee actresses with a series regular role in a major broadcast television series. Gorecki is involved with the non-profit organization Amputee Blade Runners that helps provide free running prosthetics for amputees.
In addition to her acting career, which includes guest-starring on “Chicago Fire,” Gorecki is an avid runner and skilled athlete who is passionate about living and promoting a sustainable lifestyle.
Levi Delgado, “La Brea”
Nicholas Gonzalez plays Levi Delgado in the NBC drama “La Brea.”
Gonzalez recently wrapped three seasons as a series regular on ABC’s “The Good Doctor.” He can also be seen recurring on ABC Family’s hit series “Pretty Little Liars, ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder” and BET’s “Being Mary Jane.” His other notable TV credits include major recurring arcs on “Sleepy Hollow,” “The Flash” and “Frequency.”
On the feature side, Gonzalez recently co-starred in “Borrego” and “Evil Takes Root.” Other notable feature work includes “Praying for Rain, opposite Jane Seymour; James DeMonaco’s “The Purge: Anarchy,” opposite Frank Grillo; and Jonas Akerlund’s “Spun,” opposite Mickey Rourke.
Veronica St. Clair
Riley Velez, “La Brea”
Veronica St. Clair plays Riley Velez in the NBC drama “La Brea.”
St. Clair can be seen in the Netflix series “Unbelievable,” opposite Kaitlyn Dever, as well as the fourth season of “13 Reasons Why.”
She graduated with a degree in theater arts from the University of San Diego.
Josh Harris, “La Brea”
Jack Martin plays Josh Harris in the NBC drama “La Brea.”
A Los Angeles-based, actor, writer, and comedian, Martin was most recently seen on CBS’ “All Rise.”
After posting his sketch comedy online during quarantine when the industry was on hold, he exploded on the Internet with his self-produced videos, gaining hundreds of thousands of followers across multiple platforms.
Fresh out of Georgetown University, Martin also studied at New York University’s Tisch Stonestreet Studios Film & TV conservatory, an intensive program focused on screen acting. He had also studied acting and the business side of entertainment through various talent management internships before realizing he was better suited in front of the camera, than behind it.
Martin’s self-referential sense of humor brings something unique to every video he makes. He knows who he is and is not afraid to poke fun at himself.
Executive Producer, “La Brea”
David Appelbaum is the creator, showrunner and executive producer of the NBC drama “La Brea.”
Appelbaum was a co-executive producer on “The Enemy Within,” “Wisdom of the Crowd” and “NCIS: New Orleans.”
Appelbaum began his career with four seasons on “The Mentalist.”
Proofread and Edited by Brenda