Zyra Gorecki on Starring in NBC’s ‘La Brea’ – Beallich.Com

In the new NBC drama La Brea, premiering September 28, LA’s Miracle Mile becomes a mysterious primeval world when a giant sinkhole opens, dragging some people under the city’s La Brea Tar Pits and leaving others tremors on the ground. Beyond this literal divide, Zyra Gorecki, who plays Izzy Harris, sheds light on the un-discussed divide between actors with and without disabilities in broadcast television (her leg was amputated below the knee after a log fell on her foot at the age of 14). A native of Michigan, Gorecki explored the pattern before landing on an episode of Chicago Fire in 2016. She spoke with CHEAP about being one of the first disparate actors with a series of regular roles.

What role does Los Angeles play in the show?

LA and La Brea Tar Pits [are] playground. We actually visited the Tar pits so I could get a better sense of what they were like.

How did the action scenes on the show challenge you as an arm amputee below the knee? Conversely, what has your life experience helped bring to the role of Izzy?

The action and adventure elements are really fun. I like to stay pretty healthy and so when asked what my limit is, I tell them [that] I will do what it takes to get the job done. As an amputee, you bring to a completely different mental state than a character with an amputee. For Izzy, I know the pain, the emotions, the life that comes with having an amputated arm. So I understood her reaction and choices in the way that one would have had absolutely no limbs.

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Gorecki in a scene from La Brea.
Sarah Enticknap / NBC

How do you feel about having the ability to display this role? Have you contacted any other actors who shared similar experiences in terms of accessibility and differences between the limbs?

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Wonderful! The inclusion is great to see. I met David Harrell and Alex Barone through a disparity camp called Camp Unlimited. Both are actors and amazingly rich sources of information for me. I hope that in the future, Hollywood will continue to use different actors for different characters.

Were there any disability protections behind the scenes that helped you while on set?

It’s a learning curve for everyone. No one really knows what to do in the beginning. But we found out as we went, and everyone was so amiable and accommodating. [Show creator] David Appelbaum asked me countless questions about life as an amputee so Izzy could be as accurate as possible.

What do you think viewers will be most surprised by about Izzy?

It was just an ordinary child. She’s dealing with all this crazy stuff, but she still needs her dad, she still has all these feelings, and sometimes it gets overwhelming. I get excited when people treat an amputee as just a normal person instead of a novelty item you see walking down the street.

The edited interview is long and clear.

This story first appeared in the September 15 issue of Beallich.Com. Click here to subscribe.

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