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At the end of the Season 1 finale of La Brea, Izzy and Gavin Harris jumped into a portal that would send them to 10,000 B.C. in the hopes that they could find the rest of their family, who were transported from present-day Los Angeles into the distant past when a sinkhole swallowed up a chunk of the city. Having spent the first season in the present, the trip to prehistoric times is a major change for Izzy and Gavin, who admittedly could have prepared a little more than they did. However, it’s also a major change for Zyra Gorecki and Eoin Macken, who play Izzy and Gavin, respectively. While they spent Season 1 filming in air-conditioned buildings with all the amenities you’d expect from a present-day setting, season 2 had them joining their co-stars and filming in the chilly, muddy Australian winter that serves as the series’ 10,000 B.C. setting.
“Zyra and Eoin would share pictures with everybody where they’re having a ‘rough day,’ and it’s this sunny day and they’re looking out the window with AC, no wind, no rain,” recalls Jon Seda, who plays Sam Velez, in a conversation with SYFY WIRE during the La Brea Season 2 press junket. “There was a little bit of envy going on at that time. But… this season might be different?”
Luckily, Both Gorecki and Macken say they’re excited to finally be joining their co-stars and acting in the wilderness in Season 2, the season premiere of which is now streaming on Peacock.
“I like being out in the woods. I enjoy where the story is going for Izzy a lot more now that she’s down under,” Gorecki says. “I think it really forces her to realize who she wants to be, what she believes in, and what she wants the achieve.”
“It was actually really liberating,” Macken said in a separate interview with SYFY WIRE. “I've always been a little bit jealous of everybody who got to play around in the forests and jungles of Australia. I dig all that because it just appeals to your childhood sensibility of being an adventurer in the forest and going into the unknown. So I mean, I got a kick out of it. It was definitely physically hard work and the weather was always a thing, but I honestly enjoyed it.”
However, just when Izzy and Gavin have traveled to the past (and brought their actors with them), two characters who spent Season 1 in 10,000 B.C. ended the finale by traveling to the present. Well, closer to the present. Josh Harris and Riley Velez, played by Jack Martin and Veronica St. Clair, respectively, are in 1988. Filming in a retro-looking house is certainly an upgrade compared to being out in the woods.
“There was at least one occasion where I did get my shoe stuck in mud and then placed my bare foot into the mud as I continued walking as we shot outside. So, that was something I was happy to get past,” Martin says of the prehistoric filming, admitting that it is much more comfortable to shoot inside — especially inside in the ‘80s. “What’s a better setting than 1988? It’s so cool! We’re blasting ‘80s music between takes, I’m watching Top Gun for the 800th time. It’s the dream.”
If it’s a nice change of pace for the actors, imagine how nice it must feel for the characters. Although they’re stranded in an unfamiliar time and separated from their families, Josh and Riley can kick back and relax.
“It’s been such a reprieve getting to shoot indoors, in the city. But, that’s true for the characters as well. There is a relief for them to finally see civilization,” St. Clair says. “They’re in a house, they get to see other people, there are no primeval animals chasing them down the road, and there’s a possibility for real food. It’s a relief and it’s exciting to be in temperate weather.”
Still, the cast says shooting in the Australian wilderness (much of the filming took place in the southeastern state of Victoria) is an essential part of what makes La Brea the show it is.
“There’s something cool about shooting outside on these sets,” Martin says. “We have these crazy sets. The giant collapsed Peterson Museum, the exploded cars, all of that is real. So that’s incredible.”
Some actors have, so far, only shot scenes in the 10,000 B.C. setting. Tonantzin Carmelo, who plays Paara, admits that the Australian winter is “definitely” challenging at times, but ultimately the landscape is essential to the series and worth the hardships.
“Sometimes you need to count your blessings as well. It is very rugged terrain where we are shooting down below, we’re out there in these beautiful parts with the kangaroos and koalas and cockatoos.” Carmelo says. “Yes, sometimes you do wish you had some heat, but I think it’s also part of the beauty of things. It’s literally a supporting character, the ground underneath, the earth. All of our surroundings are the set, and it feeds into this world.”
New episodes of La Brea premiere on Tuesday on NBC at 9 p.m. ET. Season 1 of is currently streaming on Peacock. Season 2 episodes will be added the day after they air.