As the second “La Brea” season begins, Zyra Gorecki’s world transforms.
She plays Izzy, a teen who spent the first season simply being a victim. Izzy had lost her leg in an accident … lost connection with her dad because of his emotional turmoil … then lost her mom, who was swallowed by a giant sinkhole, ending up in 10,000 BC.
As the second season starts (9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, on NBC and then on Peacock), some of that has changed. Izzy and her dad (they’re shown here) plunged into an alternate sinkhole, ending up in prehistoric Seattle.
“It was really weird just thinking about, like being in 10,000 BC and having a fake leg and all of the garbage that goes with it,” Gorecki told the Television Critics Association.
In real life, she lost her leg in a logging accident at about 13. She’s faced crises, but not like this.
“They land in Seattle,” Gorecki said. “They’re trying to make it back to (Los Angeles), right? That’s a very long walk with two completely-there legs – let alone one leg and a dad who’s got a lot of issues.”
That’s 1,135 miles. And there are creatures along the way. And Izzy’s artificial leg needs repairs.
Casting Izzy was key, said David Appelbaum, the “La Brea” creator and producer. “It was always important to us that we find an actor who was an amputee. We conducted a really big search (and were) lucky to find Zyra. She has this great charfisma and natural talent.”
That makes up for a lack of experience. She had done some modeling, but the only other role listed in her credits is as an unnamed “stuck pedestrian” on “Chicago Fire,” six years ago.
Gorecki is cryptic about some things, saying only that she’s from “a really small town” in Michigan, It’s “a very small town (of about 1,000), Stalkers can find me.”
Now she’s in Australia, facing fresh acting challenges. sometimes reacting to creatures who will be added later. “Being afraid of something that isn’t there is wild,” she said.
Sometimes, the actors are working against a total void. At other times, said Eoin Macken (who plays Izzy’s dad), a stunt actor is “waving his hands and running around. That always works on my end to kind of mimic a wooly mammoth.”
And in the season-opener, Gorecki pats a sweet young creature, sort of an un-mammoth mammoth. While filming it, she said, she had to seem charmed by “a foam head. It was, like, a baby rhino foam head” with a stunt guy “holding it and wiggling it at you. It was great. It was super entertaining.”
Also a bit weird. But you expect that, when a sink hole takes you to 10,000 BC.