Jon Seda is taking the plunge, and that's not even a figure of speech: His character is among those who fall in when a sizable chunk of Los Angeles literally opens up in “La Brea,” a NBC adventure-drama series premiering 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Those forced to plunge find themselves in primeval surroundings, while those who remain above ground try to determine what happened and how to reunite with those they apparently lost.
Natalie Zea (“Justified”), Eoin Macken (“The Night Shift”), Zyra Gorecki and Jack Martin play members of a family separated by the phenomenon, while Seda portrays an ex-Navy SEAL turned thoracic surgeon who's thrust into the land beneath L.A.
“I've been really fortunate in my career to play different types of characters,” Seda said. “So when this opportunity came up, I knew it really was something different.
“I hadn't been thinking about doing something like this, but it was something I could enjoy wholeheartedly. To me, it's the epitome of a Hollywood project ... almost like watching a 'Star Wars' movie that takes you away on an adventure.”
One of the ironies of “La Brea” is that while its setting is very American, it's actually filmed in Australia. Seda has worked there before -- when he made HBO's 2010 limited series “The Pacific” – and says, “The landscape is amazing. It adds so much, especially since with 'La Brea,' you have the sinkhole and this crazy world that we find ourselves in. A lot of the same crew members worked on 'The Pacific,' so we've been doing a lot of reminiscing.”
Still, working in Australia means a long separation for Seda (who terms himself “an East Coast kind of guy”) from his U.S.-based family, underscored by the quarantining that's required for international travel.
“That's the tough part,” Seda said. “The pilot was filmed in Vancouver, and I thought even that was a stretch (distance-wise). Then the pandemic happened and delayed things for a while, and when this came back around and it was moving from Vancouver to Australia, I had to talk with my wife about it. We're a really close family and we went over it, with the possibility that we might not see each other for six months. Our kids are older now, so we decided, 'We'll handle it. We'll make it work.' It's been tough, but we all make sacrifices.”