Video Intervew: La Brea’s Jon Seda and Chiké Okonkwo on Their Character’s Friendship & More

La BreaTonight, La Brea returns for an all-new episode of season three. The series follows a group of survivors that traveled through a sinkhole in Los Angeles to 10,000 B.C. In the tonight's episode, in the aftermath of the dinosaurs’ destruction of the clearing from last week, the group moves to a new home where they must accept new leadership. Meanwhile, Sam (Jon Seda) deals with the fact that Riley (Veronica St. Clair) is now gone, after Josh (Jack Martin), against his wishes, took his injured daughter through the portal to an undetermined time. In 2021, arriving only weeks prior to the opening of the sinkhole, Ty (Chike Okonkwo) seeks help from a friend. 

Recently, Seda and Okonko spoke with SciFi Vision about the new season, including how their characters must rely on each other this season and how trust plays a role for the group as a whole. 

Watch our portion of the interviews and read the full transcript below and be sure to check out new episodes every Tuesday on NBC.

QUESTION:   What do you feel like this season we're going to learn about your characters? 

CHIKÉ OKONKWO:   I'll start by just saying, the great thing about La Brea is there's constantly pressure being applied to these characters. There's constantly a new situation, a new dynamic, a new thing to have to avoid or enemy to be faced. So, it's been a really, really exciting journey for three years, to be able to see how this team comes together and works together as a community and as a team. And the same is true for us as actors; like we've really - well, I'll speak for myself - I've really enjoyed working with Jon and the rest of the team and in bringing these characters to life. So, that's really what season three has in store as well, just more challenges, and more opportunities to see how we overcome those challenges together, or maybe apart as it may be sometimes. 

La BreaJON SEDA:   Yeah, I'd say, I think, for Sam, as the fans have seen, maybe in the first couple seasons, he kind of thinks he's a guy that really has it figured out as to how to be a man, and in a sense, he's been trained and all this stuff, and he's a doctor, but, you know, being a father, you're never truly ready for all the surprises and things that can come. And I think this season, Sam just will be challenged in a way he was never really challenged before as a father. So, [that's] something that I think will be pretty interesting for the fans to see in regards to Sam. 

SCIFI VISION:   Your characters become closer friends this season and have to sort of rely on each other. So, can you talk about playing that bond and sort of how that develops this season? 

CHIKÉ OKONKWO:   Yeah, we were really lucky, in that Jon and I were together as our characters on screen, the very, very first scene that we shot on the show four years ago. So, we didn't know each other before the show but have become very dear friends in the filming of it, and we get to bring part of that to what we do on screen. But also, we've been going through all these challenges as characters together for three years now. It was four years ago we started with the pilot. But this season in particular, there is a particular challenge, because we've spent this time together as these two characters, but now we have to sort of start all over again, because of the way that the time works on this show. So, that was an interesting challenge for us as actors, and then really just good fun as well, to see how we build that bond that we built over three seasons very quickly in this first couple of episodes. 

JON SEDA:   Yeah, and I think like, like Chiké said, we didn't know each other. We didn't actually meet before, but I knew of his work, like I was a big fan of is work in Being Mary Jane [which] is absolutely incredible. So, I remember when he was cast, and I said, “Oh, wow, it's cool to work with him. That's awesome! This will be great.” And then, sure enough, it was even better than what I could have expected, because he's just absolutely a true professional and just a great guy, and really, really talented. So, to have our first scene together, way back before [the] pandemic and all that, it was just, it was great, and to have that journey. Then, this season, to be surprised with how well they put all this stuff into six episodes, and I was really happy to see how Sam and [Ty] were going to be working a lot together. So, just personally I thought it was great. And I think for Sam and Ty, to watch their journey and how they go from you know, “Do I trust him? Do I not trust him?” to being allies and becoming really good friends, it was really fun to play. 

QUESTION:   It's funny that you mentioned about the episodes, that is one of my number one complaints. There’re not enough episodes…We wait too long to the next installment, like a year, and then you get like a few episodes. 

CHIKÉ OKONKWO:   Yeah, it's a shame, but by the same token, it's also nice to be able to complete something. You don't always get that luxury on television. So, we would love to have filled the screens with more episodes, but it's been the story of the year, and we were very, very fortunate and grateful that we get to round out the story the way we do. 

QUESTION:   When you guys first got the script, I guess four or five years ago, and you're reading it, you had to read it and say “What?” Like, how much of it did they give you, and how much of it were you're like, “What? I'm not following”? 

JON SEDA:   Well, yes. I remember I was coming off of this other show on NBC, and then shortly after, I got got this from La Brea. I was like, “Oh, this is cool. This is fun…It's like a big blockbuster film that's going to be a series. So, it’s like a Jurassic Park type of film, [but] it'd be a series.” I personally had never really done anything like that. So, I looked at this as a challenge, and this would be fun, another area to add to my resume. I thought that this would be fun. At first I was like, “Are they sure I'm right for this? Do they want me? Are they sure they want me for this? I’m not sure.” But it turned out to be great. I'm glad I said yes to it and got to meet, Chiké, the whole cast. And David Applebaum was just incredible. I mean, he's got so much creativity in his mind. So, it was great to be a part of it. But yeah, at first I though, “Wow, this could be…alot of fun, because it's gonna be so big.” 

CHIKÉ OKONKWO:   And likewise, that first script we read, that actually had to sustain us for a year, because we started filming the pilot in March 2020, and then we all know what happened that month. So, that was the only script we had until the following year. But it was enough certainly, for me, to grip my attention. And like Jon said, to have a show that was filled with so much adventure with a human side, to try and work out how this group of people were going to become a community and work with each other, that was the whole ballgame right there. So, yeah, it was out there and a really sort of incredibly big, imaginative and ambitious idea, but [there] was really nothing like it on television. So, I was very happy to go along on the journey. 

SCIFI VISION:   …How important trust between [the group]? What role does that play this season between all the characters as a whole?

JON SEDA:   Well, honestly, it depends. I could say, trust, to me, isn't just something that just you just find everywhere; it's earned, and earned in different ways and shows up in different ways. And sometimes that same trust you're seeking, you know, you need to question yourself, and see where you are, and how you add to that, if that makes any sense. So, I think it was great to see, at least character wise, how that came in different forms. And you get all this group of people thrown into a place together and having to rely on each other, and whether they want to or not, you know, that's where you find different different realms of trust, and and strengths and talents and stuff. So, I think that that added to the mystery of the show, because you have the mystery of where we are and creatures and all that. But the mystery of us as individuals, I think, is unique and very relatable. 

CHIKÉ OKONKWO:   Yeah, and I'll just add to that briefly that we've been really lucky, myself, Jon, Eoin Macken, Natalie Zea, people who have been on the show from the beginning, that we get to, have this big arc up through the three seasons. But something that was really evident to me this third season was just how incredible the guest actors were as well. Chantelle Jamieson, who comes in in episode one of season three [is] a wonderful actress. I got to work with, Annabelle Stevenson. You know, people have to come in and sort of pick up and just do the job, sometimes with no warning, really. So, that was really a big part of this third season for my character, because Ty gets to go on a different journey away from the clearing, away from 10,000 BC, I can say, and to be able to immediately have that trust with new actors who were just coming in and lending their considerable skills to our show was really - I was in awe of it. And we're very grateful to have such talented people come along on the journey with us.

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